Summary of How Syria Came to This

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The Syrian civil war’s unabated violence continues to cause monumental suffering for millions of Syrians, with no end in sight. Over the past decade, the conflict has enabled the jihadist group ISIS to take temporary control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, exacerbated tensions between the United States and Russia, and given rise to the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history. How did it all start, and why is the war threatening to mutate into an international conflict? To anyone who’s lost track, getAbstract recommends this useful chronology of the Syrian civil war which the Middle East specialist Andrew J. Tabler put together for The Atlantic.  

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the Syrian civil war started, 
  • Why the conflict has drawn in neighboring states and major world powers, and
  • Why the Syrian civil war is at risk of becoming an international conflagration. 

About the Author

Andrew J. Tabler is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Syria.



The Syrian civil war started 2011 with a minor incident: Four boys scribbled anti-Assad graffiti on a wall in the city of Der’a. Upon the boys’ arrest, city residents joined the boys’ parents in demanding that Assad’s security services release them. The regime’s violent crackdown on the demonstrators sparked protests in other Syrian towns, including Damascus, which were countered with even more violence. Western observers expected Assad to meet a fate similar to that of his counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, but Assad was able to stay in power. His regime, army and security forces represented minorities who did not share a sense of solidarity with the Sunni majority that led the protests.  

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