Reports of a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday, Aug. 21, marked a turning point in the attitude of the United States and its allies toward the Syrian government. Disparate rebel groups have been fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since 2011. Syria has responded by shooting and bombing its people, as well as committing human rights abuses against its citizens such as torture and rape.
More than 100,000 people have died and millions more, including 1 million children, have fled their homes. Many have left for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (map), where they face hardship while awaiting their fate in sprawling refugee camps.
The consequences of Syria’s war extend beyond its borders, as violence spills into other countries and threatens to destabilize the region. Clashes between Shia government supporters and fighters from Syria’s majority-Sunni population have prompted bomb attacks in Lebanon and Iraq. Foreign fighters have joined battles on both sides, including Hezbollah for the government and radical Sunnis for the opposition. Instability has attracted jihadist groups, which have seized territory for their own use.
The conflict has unfolded as world powers vie to advance their interests in the region. Russia, one of the Assad government's strongest allies, has repeatedly stymied western governments’ efforts to find a political solution.
The narrative in Syria is not as simple as a country’s oppressed majority fighting against an authoritarian regime. Extremist elements among the opposition make the West nervous, and Syria’s fragmented opposition lacks a clear directive. That could lead to further instability should the Assad regime fall.
BOSTON - Chinese hackers eavesdropped on the computers of five European foreign ministries before last September's G20 Summit, which was dominated by the Syrian crisis, according to research by computer security firm FireEye Inc
KUWAIT - Saudi Arabia's dream of binding the Gulf Arab states into a union will get a skeptical hearing at a summit this week, with differences over Iran, Egypt and Syria demonstrating that the Gulf's absolute monarchs do not all speak with one voice.
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have taken control of a highway connecting Damascus to the coast that is needed to extract hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals for destruction, state television said on Monday.
OSLO - The removal of chemical weapons from Syria may be delayed slightly due to the difficulties of operating during a civil war, the head of the global chemicals weapon watchdog OPCW said on Monday.
KUWAIT - The head of the Syrian National Coalition opposition group said on Sunday a thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran could strengthen President Bashar al-Assad's hand in Syria's civil war.
BEIRUT - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least five children during fighting for the town of Nabak north of the capital Damascus, activists said on Sunday.
JERUSALEM - The Israeli army said on Saturday that an Israeli military vehicle had been damaged by a bomb set off on the Syrian side of the frontier of the occupied Golan Heights.
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL - Syrian rebels from an Islamist alliance formed last month have occupied bases and warehouses belonging to a Western-backed rebel group on the Turkish border, rebels and activists said on Saturday.
JERUSALEM - The Israeli army said on Saturday that an Israeli military vehicle had been damaged by a bomb set off by Syrians on frontier of the occupied Golan Heights.
TOP VIDEOS FROM SYRIA
Cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr, of Taia Global, says the Syrian Electronic Army's recent behavior suggests their ability to command attention far exceeds their skills or potential danger as cyber hackers. Video
Photography from Syria
Dec. 4 - Hundreds of mourners attend the funeral of Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Laqqis in Baalbeck after he was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon's Beirut. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).