The Syrian crisis began in early 2011 when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began a brutal crackdown on growing peaceful protests throughout the country. With the use of tanks, attack helicopters and artillery against protesters and the torture and execution of children, protests spread and opposition groups took up arms.
The attacks and counter-attacks escalated into a full-fledged civil war between the Assad regime with allied militias and an array of opposition groups. The spread of the Islamist extremist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) into Syria has added another dangerous element increasing atrocities and threatening genocide against the Yazidi and other minority groups.
Since March 2011 when the conflict began
1,000+ Barrel Bombs
Filled with metal shards dropped on civilians
3 Million Refugees
One in every eight Syrians has fled the country
Growing Conflict and Atrocities
The Syrian conflict is already the source of more displacement than any other conflict in the world and the numbers of displaced continues to grow. The Syrian regime continues to bomb civilian areas and to use barrel bombs in violation of international law.
A report commissioned by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Syria, cites that war crimes, including murder, extrajudicial killings and torture, and gross violations of international human rights, including unlawful killing, attacks against civilians and acts of sexual violence, have been committed. Opposition groups are deeply divided and many have also committed grave atrocities.
On August 21, 2013, the crisis took on a dangerous new dimension with a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime that killed over 1,400 people, according to a U.S. intelligence report.
The spread of ISIS added a new dimension including the threat of genocide of the Yazidi and other minority groups. ISIS is estimated to have killed more than 1,800 people, mostly civilians, often in mass executions, and has taken hundreds of women as sex slaves.
Driven into Darkness: Act now to stop the crisis in Syria
More than three-quarters of the lights in Syria have gone out. The darkness is a result of one of the worst crises of our time. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 11 million have been forced from their homes.
The bottom line in Syria should be a political solution. But immediate action is needed to stop attacks on civilians and address the massive humanitarian crisis.
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