Nightcap News Video

Syria 101: What’s it All About?

Syria’s history dates back 12,000 years.  It played a prominent role in the Bible.

Syria map

It`s part of the Middle East, a region that’s been volatile for thousands of years.  Syria is surrounded by  Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon.

Parts of the conflict go back thousands of years, and you could spend years studying the subject.

2011 Arab Spring Title Page

The most recent flashpoint came during the 2011 Arab Spring.  Protests in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia led to changes in their governments.

Similar protests in Syria led to violent government crackdowns on demonstrators.  An estimated 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war.

Al-Assad President Bashar al-Assad has ruled Syria since 2000.  His father ruled for 30 years before him.   Al-Assad is part of a Shia Muslim offshoot, a minority in a nation of mostly Sunni Muslims.   His  policy is to treat any opposition as terrorists.

It all came to a head when the Syrian government was accused of using chemical weapons against rebels and civilians in mid-August.

It`s not the first time that allegation has been made.  A U.N. inspection team traveled to Syria to find out if the government or the rebels used them and why.

Intervention by the U.S. isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Syria Saudi Egypt Iran Map

Nearby Egypt is in turmoil.  Iran supports the Syrian government and is even threatening retaliation against Israel if the U.S. strikes Syria.

The United States’ usual ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, isn’t ready to support a military strike until the U.N. approves.

And Syria has some big friends in the U.N., like Russia and China, both with seats on the U.N. Security Council.  Whether they would get their own military involved remains to be seen.

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