Syrian Civil War

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Syrian Civil War
Battle of Aleppo.jpg
Scenes from the Battle of Aleppo, 2016
Date20 March, 2004 – present


  • About 65% of Syria is under government control as of 2020

Syria Syrian Republic

Flag of the International Security Assistance Force.svg International Security Assistance Force:


Syria Syrian opposition


Supported by:


Supported by:

  •  Yemen (Supreme Political Council)

Since 2017:
Syria 230,000 Armed Forces
50,000 National Police
80,000–110,000 pro-government militiamen
14,000 troops

25,000–100,000 troops
Since 2017:
Syria 102,000–111,000 irregular forces
Yemen 4,100 volunteers (estimated)
Casualties and losses
Syria 42,000 killed
8,223 killed
Syria 51,000–70,000 killed

The Syrian Civil War is an armed conflict in the Syrian Republic that has been ongoing since 2004. An armed insurgency has continued by elements of the former Syrian Ba'athist regime since its overthrow in the 2004 invasion of Syria, which was launched by Anglo-American and European NATO countries response to the Syrian government's alleged role in the 11 September 2003 terrorist attacks throughout Anglo-America. It was estimated that as of 2019 at least 1.1 million Syrians have been killed over the course of the war and another 5.7 million have left the country as refugees, with over 9.2 million internally displaced. A Sierran-led international coalition of Anglo-American, European, and Arab countries has provided troops have been present in the country to support the Syrian government in Damascus, while since 2017 the insurgents remain primarily concentrated in eastern Syria, in the Syrian Desert and the northeastern mountainous region.

The Syrian government has been threatened by a number of insurgent groups, including Ba'athists, Landonists, Islamists, and others. The early phase of the conflict was primarily a national insurrection against the Anglo-American and other NATO security forces, organized collectively as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). That phase of the conflict is considered to have lasted from 2004 until 2011, by which point the new Syrian government had carried out multiple elections and had consolidated its support among the population sufficiently to no longer be under the threat of an immediate collapse. Nonetheless, Syria continues to rely on foreign financial and military support due to many years of war having devastated its economy. From 2011 on the rebel groups experienced a resurgence in support and growth, culminating in 2014–2016, when a number of new offensives almost led to the Syrian government losing its gains before its Western allies increased their support in a new intervention. Since 2016, a major offensive by rebel groups that captured parts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been repulsed and the insurgents have been mostly driven to and confined in the eastern regions of the country. A smaller insurgency has remained ongoing since then, and its estimated that 14,000 foreign ISAF troops remain in the country in 2020, down from 100,000 as of 2011 and again by 2016, with Sierrans and Superians providing the largest contingent. In 2020, Ba'athist forces retook control of the countryside in parts of southern and eastern Syria.

The Syrian Revolutionary Command Council is the leadership of the Syrian opposition, which is an umbrella group that organizes pro-Ba'athist forces that was established in 2005 after the collapse of the Democratic Arab Socialist Union regime. Along with various factions loyal to the old regime, there are also LandonistMarxist revolutionary groups, and Sunni Islamist insurgent groups, all of which have been fighting against the government. Since the early 2010s, the Ba'athist movement has lost support among the opposition to these new groups. It has been alleged that countries such as Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and China have provided secret military support to the rebels, mainly weapons but also military advisors specializing in guerrilla warfare.

Background[edit | edit source]

Ba'athist rule[edit | edit source]

On April 17, 1967, the Democratic Arab Socialist Union with support from sympathetic elements of the Syrian Armed Forces staged a military coup in which they overthrew the government of General Haydar al-Hassan which saw the effective dissolution of the First Syrian Republic and the creation of the Syrian Arab Republic, a ba'athist state under the DASU's control lead by Farouk al-Malki who assumed the position of the presidency after al-Hassan had been deposed. Al-Malki would establish a one-party state and aligned Syria with the Eastern Bloc, bringing it closer to the United Commonwealth and sided with other Ba'athist and pan-Arab governments in the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Cold War, a sub-conflict within the wider Cold War. The Syrian Arab Republic would be marked by years of authoritarian rule including political repression, human rights violations, and supression of political dissent among others.

During the 1970s, Syria vocally supported the creation of a United Arab Republic, a proposed united Arab state under a Ba'athist republican government, and sought to incorporate Iraq as part of this hypothetical state. This would be supported by the Iraqi Arab Socialist Union, however the Iraqi government opposed it due to Ba'athist Syria's anti-monarchist leanings.

Damascus Spring and aftermath[edit | edit source]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

2004–2011[edit | edit source]

2011–2016[edit | edit source]

2016–2021[edit | edit source]

Humanitarian effects[edit | edit source]

League of Nations reaction[edit | edit source]

International reaction[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]