For the past month conflict in Syria has been in the forefront of American minds, but where and how did it all start?
Unrest in Syria began in March 2011 with two major protests. The first, which is referred to as the “Day of Dignity”, demanded the release of political prisoners and the second the “Day of Rage”, where many civilians were shot dead by security forces. In May 2011, the government ended protests in major Syrian cities, which include Homs, Daraa and areas of Damascus. The government continued to enforce crackdown of protests, which led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians at the hands of the government. This event led to a response from President Obama who asked for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to step down.
In the coming months Syria was further sanctioned by other countries, resolutions were also brought up in the U.N. to bring a cease-fire in Syria, but these resolutions were continuously stopped by Russia and China which are allies to Syria.
In March 2012, a year after the beginning of conflict, the protesters, which are now identified as the Free Syrian Army, announced they are moving conflict from populated cities to less populated areas citing concerns for harm of civilians. Further discussion of U.N. resolutions took place, and seemed to have had an affect until June 21st where Syrian Government shot down a Turkish jet, prompting a NATO response.
Killings continue on both sides, with top Assad officials being murdered, as well as the massacre of over one hundred people–half of them being children–by the government. Further escalation turned what was a few small battles, into a full-blown war.
In June 2012, Us officials concluded that Assad used chemical weapons as a means of warfare. France and the United Kingdom was the first to announce this news to the United Nations. By August 2012, unrest in Syria became a national news story and the topic of discussion at U.S. news outlets. It is noted that the U.S. launched a full investigation, along with the U.N. for claims of chemical weapons in Syria.
The outcome of Syria is still unknown as it is a continuing situation. To date, over 100,000 Syrians have been killed. And more are being killed each day.
A full detailed timeline of the Syrian Conflict can be found here.
–Tatiana M. Brown, Vice President