250,000 Syrian Deaths
The brutal civil war has so far killed over 250,000 Syrians, leaving President Assad’s troops in control of only 25% of the country, with the remainder controlled by the Kurds, the Nusra Front, the Druze, Hezbollah and the Islamic State.
Due to the conflict, over 11 MILLION of Syria’s normal population of around 22 million, have been forced to flee their homes. Millions have fled across the borders of Syria into neighbouring countries. The refugees are now living in three main areas - those parts of The Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan with easy land access to the most populated areas of Syria.
Syrian conflict continues
The Syrian conflict has now entered its fifth year but with no hope in sight of a solution and the number of people fleeing the war zone is rising. In the past 10 months, more than a million people have been forced to become refugees bringing the total to in exceess of 11 million who have been displaced.
The Levant is the region of the Middle East along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Turkey to the north, Egypt to the South, Iraq in the east and speaking geographically, the Levant also includes Cyprus.
The region has been fought over for thousands of years and its civilisations go back around 50,000 years. Most of the battles of the ancient civilisations referred to in the Bible took place here. The Romans ruled the Levant for many years and built most of the cities still thriving today.
Growth of Islam
Islam grew from around 700AD and by 1300 the Ottoman Empire was in firm control of the entire Middle East. After WWI, the Allies partitioned the Levant region into several new countries, such as Syria, Lebanon and later Israel.
The Levant has become a hotbed of fighting for over 50 years. While most Muslim nations had an ‘Arab Spring’ around 2010 which saw many Arab regimes toppled, the Syrian Government has retained control, at least over part of its territory. There are approximately 17 different religions established in Syria, while some factions are violently opposed to peaceful co-existence with others of any other faith.
“This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation.”
UN high Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, July 2015
The War over Syria
Syria explained in half an hour !
This 28 minute overview of the war in Syria,
describes how Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc began.
Ezra Klein explains who is fighting who, and why.