Syria: 2011 to Present

syria mapHistory of  the Syrian Civil War

The Syrian civil war began with the arrest and torture of teens who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall.

When anti-government protesters gathered in response, Syrian security forces shot them. The unrest spread nationwide as protesters demanded the resignation of Syrian President Assad. The government used force to crush them, and the situation escalated into a full-scale civil war in 2011, with the government fighting for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Eleven million Syrians were forced from their homes by forces loyal to the President. Making things worse, Syrians were also battling jihadist militants from ISIS.

In August 2013, President Assad used sarin gas to kill his own people, but blamed the rebels. He later agreed to remove or destroy his chemical weapons arsenal after threats of intervention by the U.S. military.

However, he was found to have used chlorine and ammonia in attacks on rebel-held northern villages between April and July 2014. ISIS has also been accused of using homemade chemical weapons in northern Syria.

More than four million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict-creating one of the largest refugee crises in recent history.

Now the conflict has Syria’s Islamic Sunni populace fighting against the President’s Shia Alawite sect. Recently Iran and Russia have joined the fight, backing President Assad. Lebanon’s Shia Islamist Hezbollah movement has provided additional support for Assad. Territorial breakdown:

  • ISIS is in control of northern and eastern Syria.
  • The “capitol” of ISIS is Raqqa, northern Syria–where much of the training takes place.
  • ISIS controls areas of Syria equal in size to Britain.
  • Secular moderates are outnumbered by extremists.
  • More than 250,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war

Why this Matters: President Obama doesn’t want to get involved because he says if we get rid of ISIS, we don’t know what will come next. He also says he does not want the U.S. to become an occupying force. Some analysts have suggested he thinks ISIS will eventually fade away and it is not worth the cost of American lives to deal with them. In the meantime, there is no other country in NATO or the UN that can lead the fight. If the U.S. does nothing, it would be impossible for the others to have much impact.

How to Pray: Father, we are crying out to You to manage world events to suit Your purposes. You are our strong tower and worthy of praise. We pray protection and Your presence for all Christians in harm’s way. Thank You for Your care for mankind and for dealing with these terrorists. Revenge is Yours.

1 Peter 5:6-7  – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time: 
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

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