Free Syrian Army

Six basic questions about the war in Syria

Six basic questions about the war in Syria

The Syrian war has been a slowly unfolding catastrophe, one that has embroiled nearly the whole world. Here's a look at how it started, why it became so complicated and what might happen next.

How did the war in Syria start?

In March 2011, peaceful protests broke out around the country as part of the Arab Spring uprisings. Organizers called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to make democratic reforms, but his government responded with violence. In response, some of the protesters teamed up with military defectors to form the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group that wanted to overthrow the government. By 2012, this armed struggle had devolved into a full-blown civil...