War in Syria- who is fighting whom and why?
Syrian war is a mess.
After six years, conflict is divided between 4 sides Bashar-Al-Assad, ISIS, Kurds and Rebels.
Each side is backed by foreign backer, and foreign backers don’t even agree with each other, and who are they fighting for and who are they fighting against.
Now Syria used chemical weapon has provoked President Donald Trump to directly attack Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.
This is a major development because up till now the USA was focused to fight against ISIS.
To better understand crisscross interventions and battalions in Syria today, and how it got this way it helps to go back to the beginning of the conflict and watch to see how it unfolded.
First shots were fired in March 2011 by Syrian Dictator Bashar Al Assad against peaceful Arab spring demonstration.
In July, protestors start shooting back and some Syrian troops even defected from the Syrian army to join them.
They call them self the free Syrian Army and uprising became a civil war. Extremist around the region and world started traveling to Syria to join the Rebels.
Now Assad actually encourages this by releasing militant prisoners to ting the rebellions with extremism and make it harder for the foreign backers to support them.
In January 2012, Al-Qaeda forms a new branch in Syria named as Jabhat Al Nusra.
Also around that time Syrian Kurdish groups who had long side autonomy take up arms and informally succeed from Assad’s rule in the North. That summer is when Syria becomes a proxy war.
Iran, Assad’s most important ally intervenes on his behalf, and by the end of 2012, Iran is sending daily cargo flights and have hundreds of offices on ground.
At the same time, oil rich Arab states in Persian Gulf begin sending money and weapons to the Rebels mainly to encounter Iran’s influence.
Iran steps up its influence in turns in mid-2012 when Hezbollah Lebanese militia backed by Iran invades to fight Iranian side.
In turn Gulf state response was send more money and weapons to the Rebels this time through Jordan who opposes Assad.
But in 2013, Middle East is divided between mostly Sunni’s power generally supporting Rebels and Shia generally supporting Assad. That April the Obama administration horrified by Assad atrocities and signed a secret order authorizing CIA to train and equip Syrian Rebels. At the same time United States quietly urges Gulf States to stop funding extremist, but the request basically goes ignored.
In August, the Assad regime uses chemical weapons against civilians provoking nations to condemn.
The US ends up backing down, but the whole thing is establishes Syria as a great power dispute with Russia backing Assad and United State opposing them. Just weak later the American CIA trains and armed Syria Rebels. US is now participants in the war.
In February 2014, something happens that transformed the war. An Al-Qaeda affiliate base mostly in Iraq breaks away from group due to internal agreement.
The group called the Islamic State Iran and Syria (ISIS) and become Al-Qaeda enemies. ISIS mostly not fight Assad but other Rebels and Kurds as well. That summer it marches across Iraq ceasing territories and galvanizing world against it.
In September, one year after US almost bombed Assad, it starts bombing ISIS as well.
That summer in July, Pentagon launches its own program to train Syrian Rebels but they will only train who will fight against ISIS not Assad.
The program fizzles showing that America is opposing ISIS more than Assad, but there is also no like-minded Syrian proxy forces on ground in Syria.
In August, Turkey starts bombing Kurdish groups in Iraq and in Turkey. Even as this Kurdish groups are fighting ISIS in Syria, but Turkey don’t bomb ISIS. This gets into one of the biggest problems in this conflicts. US sees ISIS as its main enemy but its allies like turkey and Saudi Arab has other priorities. This make unclear and confusing alliances.
The next month, Russia intervenes on the behalf of Assad, sending few dozen military aircraft to long held Russian base in country. Russia says they’re there to bomb ISIS but infect only ends up bombing anti-Assad’s Rebel including some backed by US. The next year Donald Trump wins the White House.
Following to stay out of Syria and signaling that Assad should be able to stay in power.
At the end of 2016, Assad helped by Russian air power and Iranian sponsored militant reached Syrian city of Aleppo. Knocking the Rebels out of their remaining urban strong hold. Then in spring 2017, Assad once again used chemical weapon against his people killing 85 including 20 children.
Back in US Trump says his attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed due to attacks. In just few days white hose launches dozens of tomahawk missile that strike air base in Syria.
This is the first time United State has directly attacked Assad regime. And adds another crisscross in complication to already multi dimension civil war.
So as it stands now Syria is getting ruined.
Even if Assad recaptures land, outside the country, each of the groups is getting fueled by another country.
It’s clear that there is no end in sight for this war.