The ongoing conflict and political changes in Syria

International communities' responses to conflict

Israeli Iron Dome

January 27, 2013 - January 28, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, re-positioned one Iron Dome missile defense battery along the Syrian border. The move signals Israel's fear of the civil war spreading to become a regional conflict as described by the NYT article, "Israel Girds for Attacks as Syria Falls Apart."

The French Proposal

January 28, 2013 - January 29, 2013

The French government believes that foreign nations ought to honor their financial pledges to the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The French government stated that Syrian refugees need $1.5 billion in aid and the opposition requires $500 million in order to operate. The proposal is designed to thwart the spread and appeal of Islamists, which is described in the NYT article: "France says Syrian Rebels Need Aid to Fend Off 'Chaos.'"

Russian support for Assad

January 30, 2013 - January 31, 2013

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, stated that Russia favors an end to the violence but does not seek a regime change in Syria. Minister Lavrov's statements can be seen in the SANA article "Lavrov: Russia's Priority is Achieving Comprehensive Solution in Syria Not Regime Change."

War Crimes and Human Right Violations

February 18, 2013 - February 19, 2013

U.N. human rights investigator, Carla de Ponte, stated that the International Criminal Court should investigate elements of the Assad military and intelligence services for human rights violations as detailed in the NYT article: "U.N. Rights Officials Urge Syria War Crimes Charges."

Lebanon, a not so friendly neighbor

February 23, 2013 - February 24, 2013

Lebanon has grown fearful that the current 400,000 Syrian refugees in the country may effect long-term stability. Therefore, Lebanon is no longer providing civil services or relief to the refugees as described by the NYT article "Swollen With Syrian Refugees, Lebanon Feels Its Stitching Fray."

Saudi Arabia's arms proliferation

February 25, 2013 - February 26, 2013

Saudi Arabia was accused of underhandedly supplying secular and nationalist groups within the Syrian Resistance movement with powerful weapons. The weapons were left over from the Bosnian Conflict that the Saudi Arabian government was buying from the Croatian government through third party sources. The details of the accusation can be found at the NYT article: "Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms."

U.N. soldiers taken hostage

March 6, 2013 - March 9, 2013

The Martyrs of Yarmouk claimed responsibility for capturing 21 U.N. soldiers from the Philippines in the Golan Heights. The soldiers were detained until Assad forces left the area around the town of Al Jamlah. Eventually, all 21 soldiers were released to a Jordanian army unit. The coverage of their capture and release can be found in the NYT articles: "Syrian Rebels in Golan Region Hold U.N. Peacekeeping Team" and "U.N. Starts Talks to Free Peacekeepers Held by Syria Rebels."

Limited U.S. Support

March 6, 2013 - March 7, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated the U.S. would begin providing non-lethal military aid to parts of the resistance movement deemed responsible. Kerry also stated that supplying weapons would be the best way to thwart the influence of Islamists but mad no promises to deliver arms at this time. Kerry's comments can be seen in the NYT article: "Kerry says Syrian Opposition Can Handle Military Aid."

Cross Border Massacre in Iraq

March 11, 2013 - March 12, 2013

Dozens of Syrian troops crossed the border into Iraq in order to find shelter during an engagement with resistance forces. The Syrian troops were escorted back to the border by a contingent of Iraqi soldiers. However, they were ambushed by the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq resulting in the deaths of 41 Syrian and 14 Iraqi soldiers. Details of the massacre can be found at the NYT article: "Qaeda Group in Iraq Says It Killed Syrian Soldiers."

A Divided Europe

March 15, 2013 - March 16, 2013

At an E.U. conference in Brussels, Germany and Austria expressed their reservations and ultimate unwillingness to supply the Syrian resistance with weapons. News from the summit can be found at the NYT article: "Other Europeans Balk at Bid by Britain and France to Arm Syria's Rebels."

Invitation from the Arab League

March 26, 2013 - March 27, 2013

The Arab League invited the Free Syrian Army to send a delegation as the true representatives of the Syrian people as detailed by the NYT article: "Syrian Opposition Joins Meeting of Arab League."

Failing the Refugees

April 5, 2013 - 04/06/2013

The U.N. stated that it could no longer provide aid to the 1.25 million Syrian refugees due to a lack of funding. Originally, $156 million was pledged by various members of the international community; however, only a quarter of this total has actually been collected. The story was reported on by the NYT in their article: "U.N. Says It Is Running Out of Money to Assist Wave of Refugees From Syria."

U.S. Uncertainty

April 11, 2013 - April 12, 2013

Top American intelligence official James Clapper and American Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford both separately testified before the U.S. Congress that sectarian violence in Syria would continue even with the removal of Assad. Their declarations stand in contrast to statements made by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry as reported by the NYT article: "Rebel Victory in Syria Might Not Stop Conflict, U.S. Officials Say."

Assad Regime's responses to conflict

Assad's airstrikes

January 14, 2013 - January 15, 2013

The Assad Regime is accused of indiscriminately bombing residential neighborhoods, by Doctors Without Borders, in order to root out the insurgency. The village of Azaz along the Turkish border was bombed resulting in 20 civilian deaths and 99 injuries. The NYT covered this story in their article: "Dozens of Civilians Are Said to Be Killed by Syrian Airstrikes."

Minister Haidar's Solution

January 23, 2013 - January 24, 2013

Syria's National Reconciliation Minister, Dr. Ali Haidar, proposed a solution to end the civil war. Dr. Haidar proposed a general reconciliation between the opposing factions. His plan calls for punishing individuals rebelling against the Assad Regime but also increasing social security spending in order to solve social issues that motivated the rebellion. The event was discussed at length in the SANA article: "Minister Haidar: Syria Will Emerge from Crisis Through Dialogue and National Reconciliation."

The Grand Mufti

January 30, 2013 - January 31, 2013

The Grand Mufti of Syria (an important religious leader in Islam), Dr. Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun stated that the nature of the conflict has been warped by media outlets. He believes the solution to SYria's conflict can be found by reaching out to the greater Islamic world and forging a closer alliance with Iran. His statements are described in the SANA article: "Hassoun, Akhtari Stress Need for Conveying Reality of Events in Syria to Islamic World."

Israeli air-strike

January 31, 2013 - February 1, 2013

The Assad Regime confirmed that an Israeli air-strike did damage a Syrian facility allegedly used to produce chemical weapons. Syria sent a letter to the U.N. in protest but friction between the two nations will increase. The air strike is described in greater detail by the NYT article: "Syria Says It Has Right to Counterattack Israel."

Suicide Bombs and Scud Missiles

February 22, 2013 - February 23, 2013

Suicide bombers attacked the Baath Party Headquarters and Russian Embassy in Damascus. The Assad Regime responded by firing scud missiles into Aleppo neighborhoods controlled by the resistance. The coverage of the attacks can be found in the NYT article: "Scud Missile Attack Reported in Aleppo."

Affirmation of the Assad Regime

March 11, 2013 - March 12, 2013

The Supreme Iftaa Council declared that all Syrian nationals are obligated to defend Syria. The statement and its implications can be found on the SANA article: "Supreme Iftaa COuncil: Defending Unified Syria Duty on All Syrians."

The Impact of Oil

March 20, 2013 - March 21, 2013

The Assad Regime has been financially weakened by the limited operating capacity of its oil fields. Before the conflict Syria produced 2.5 billion barrels of a poor quality oil. However, the resistance has seized oil refining facilities that limit the Assad Regime's ability to profit and supply fuel to its own forces. The economic implications are outlined in the NYT article: "Syria's Oil Resources Are a Source of COntention for COmpeting Groups."

First Chemical Attack?

March 20, 2013 - March 21, 2013

Unknown individuals launched a rocket connected to a container of concentrated chlorine the Khan al-Assal area of Aleppo. The Free Syrian Army and Assad have each accused each other of perpetrating the attack; however, a general lack of clarity reigns. The SANA article "Al-Zoubi: Terrorists' Firing of Rocket with Chemical Substances in Aleppo is Serious Escalation" claims that rebels are responsible; however, the NYT article "Syria and Activists Trade Charges on Chemical Weapons" does not immediately accuse either side.

Death of Influential Sunni Cleric

March 21, 2013 - March 22, 2013

Sheik Mohammad Said Ramada al-Bouti was killed in an explosion in Damascus. He was the most influential Sunni Cleric in Syria who continued to support the Assad Regime as described by the NYT article: "Pro-Assad Cleric Killed in Blast in Damascus."

Assad reaches out to B.R.I.C.S.

March 27, 2013 - March 28, 2013

Assad reached out to a summit of the B.R.I.C.S. nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for support in the Syrian civil war. The details of the meeting are highlighted by the SANA article: "President al-Assad Calls upon BRICS to COntribute to Halting Violence in Syria."

Non-government actors responses to conflict

The introduction of Hezbollah

January 30, 2013 - January 31, 2013

The Assad Regime and Hezbollah have a long history of mutual support and cooperation. The two organizations are linked by their mutual Shia faith, anti-Western views and past military support. Hezbollah is aiding the Assad Regime by protecting communities loyal to the Assad Regime along the Lebanese border and deploying elements of their 4,000 man professional military against the Resistance. The development is covered by the NYT article: "Will Syria Bleed Hezbollah Dry?"

Opposition negotiation?

January 30, 2013 - January 31, 2013

Opposition leader, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, said he would be willing to negotiate with Assad to end the conflict if Assad will release an alleged 160,000 prisoners that he is secretly detaining. The proposal drew immediate criticism from other opposition leaders who refuse to negotiate with Assad under any circumstances. The details of the event are explained by the NYT article: "SYrian Opposition Leader Says He's Open to Talks, With Conditions."

Kurdish nationalism

February 6, 2013 - February 7, 2013

Within the resistance movement, the Democratic Union Party demanded greater autonomy for the Kurdish people concentrated in Syria's northeast. Kurdish militias have seized the opportunity to occupy several towns and facilities used to process oil. The development of the Kurdish movement within the resistance is detailed by the NYT article "Syria's Kurds Try to Balance Security and Alliances."

The Tabqa Dam

February 11, 2013 - February 12, 2013

The resistance forcibly seized the largest hydroelectric dam in Syria, the Tabqa Dam. The clash and its implications can be found in the NYT article: "Syrian Insurgents Claim to COntrol Large Hydropower Dam."

The Al Jarrah Airfield

February 12, 2013 - February 13, 2013

The resistance battled government forces in the Aleppo Province, which resulted in the capture of the Al Jarrah Airfield. The airfield was frequently used as a base of operations for Assad's bombing campaign against the resistance. The details of the conflict can be found in the NYT article: "Syrian Rebels Say They Have Seized a Military Airfield."

Hasaka Province

February 14, 2013 - February 15, 2013

The resistance has seized the strategically important, oil producing Hasaka Province. The seizure of this territory is chronicled in the NYT article: "Syrian Rebels Claim Near Control of a Key Province."

A Professional Relationship

April 10, 2013 - April 11, 2013

The Islamic State of Iraq has joined with the Syrian Islamist organization, Al-Nusra Front. The move immediately drew criticism from the Free Syrian Army as explained by the NYT article: "Iraq's Branch of Al Qaeda Merges with Syria Jihadists."