Syria

Want to know more about the Syria crises? Then read on and get a basic overview of what is happening in the country and what the fuss is about:

Syria is a mountainous country in western Asia bordering Turkey, Iraq and the Mediterranean Sea. For many years it has been involved in conflict, invasion, occupation and other disputes. Most notable invasions include those of the Romans, Crusaders, Mongols, and Turks. As a result of such invasions, Syria has developed a very large ethnic diversity. Although there are a number of different religions, the two religions that make up the vast majority of the population are Alawite Shias and Arab Sunnis.

syria

In 1946, Syria gained independence from the rule of France but conflict continuous as these different groups occupied in the country continue to dispute. From 1958-1961 Syria united with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s (the Prime Minister at the time) Egypt. However, in 1961 an army coup gained independence back from Egypt before the Ba’ath Party took control in 1963. This is a Renaissance party from the Alawite Shias religion and they have ruled ever since, but the uprising in 2011 made it uncertain how long they were going to last.

Under President Hafez al-Assad, from 1970-2000, Syria saw a dictatorial style of leadership. The  Six Day War in 1967 led to Syria losing the Golan Heights (an Area in Syria occupied by the Israelis). In Lebanon (next to Syria), civil war broke out in the 1970s allowing Syria to to extend its military influence in that country. In 2005, Syria pulled out  of Lebanon in 2005 after heavy pressure to do so, especially after the assassination of the Lebanese prime Minister Rafik Hariri – it is uncertain who assassinated him, but it is suspected the culprit is Syrian.

Domestically, opposition to the government has serious consequences with thousands and thousands killed in the 1980s uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama. In 2000, the death of Hazed al-Assed allowed Syria a brief moment of relaxation but it was not enough for the government to have a complete change around and create complete political freedom in the country. In 2011-2012 Syrian security stepped up their forces to tackle anti-government protesters using tanks and other dangerous weapons, inspired by the Arab Spring. The protestors became more organised and more militant against the Ba’ath government. The protest against the government developed into a civil war in Syria in 2012, and the desertion of many government officials highlighted the problems are only going to get worse.

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

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