Syria's Path from the Uprising to the War

Topics: Syria

Civil wars are not a new twenty-first-century invention. Tribes, religious communities, and political groups all around the world have been fighting for thousands of years. But, the world has never seen an internal conflict like Syria’s. Over the past eight years, the Syrian civil war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Men, women, and children have all perished in droves due to the ruthless strategies and tactics used in this conflict. I chose to educate myself on this topic due to the sheer complexity of the conflict as well as wanting to try and teach others about the hardships people are currently enduring around the world.

This conflict analysis will entail background information on how the Syrian civil war came to be, and what were the ignition sources for this inferno. Information about the conflict’s current standing and what alternative solution is on the table will also be discussed.

Background Information

Although the situation in Syria has become a cluster of crisscrossing alliances with blurred territory occupants, the birth of this conflict and the events that led up to it are clear and concise.

Syria’s population is almost all Muslims, with a little over 70 percent being Sunni Muslims and around 12 percent being Shia Muslims/Alawites (Religious Groups of Syria,1). Since 1971, all aspects of the Syrian government have been run by the al-Assad who are followers of Shia Islam (Britannica 1, 1). Because the government is controlled by the country’s religious minority, its leaders abuse their authority, and often use their power to squash other religious views and force their ideology upon people who practice differently.

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This created a cycle in which the Sunni Muslims of Syria (the majority of the population) were continuously oppressed, harassed, and controlled by their government (Britannica 1, 1).

From 1971-2010 the cycle repeated itself. Tensions started to grow in the state as well as the region around it. Then in early 2011, an extraordinary event referred to as the “Arab Spring” triggered a revolutionary explosion across the middle east. Government regimes in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt were toppled and protests erupted in Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Oman (Staff NPR, 1). In Syria, the protests were peaceful, with the citizens wanting political change more than anything. The standing president since 2000, President Bashar al-Assad, felt his grip on the people slowly start to slip and needed a way to regain his power. In July of 2011, Syrian armed forces opened fire on multiple unarmed civilian protests around the country

(Syrian President, 1). In one day, 136 civilian protesters were killed by Syrian army T-55 main battle tanks (Staff NPR, 1). This marked the beginning of the end for a peaceful Syrian powershift.

After multiple months of government nt attacks, soldiers started to defect from the military to form the Free Syrian Army whose aim was to overthrow the current Syrian government. The rebel army began to grow and expand and violent clashes started to erupt with government forces (Staff NPR, 1). By the start of 2012, Syria had dove head first into a full-blown civil war.

Current Situation

Throughout the Syrian Civil War, many things have changed in comparison to when it first began in 2011. At first, there were only two forces clashing head to head, but now things have become a bit more complicated. Right as the war started to arise, Syria’s regional neighbors and other global powers began to split into pro-and anti-Assad countries. Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, The United States, the EU, and other Arab League countries condemned the Assad regime. Meanwhile, Syria’s long-standing allies Iran and Russia continued their support (The Case, 1). As of current, anti-Assad nations like the EU have contributed food and refugee relief as well as the U.S contributing some military equipment and training. Pro-Assad countries like Russia and Iraq have supplied the Syrian government with dangerous chemical weapons and military equipment like missiles and heavy armor (Britannica 2, 1).

There are currently three main forces fighting on the ground in Syria. The Syrian government forces and the Syrian Free Army are still fighting, but the introduction of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS has royally muddied the water. ISIS was at one time a group of people fighting with the Free Syrian Army, but due to different radical religious beliefs, separated and are now enemies with their former brethren and the Syrian government forces (Britannica 2, 1). Despite the foreign help on both sides, the conflict has ground down into a stalemate, in which thousands die on both sides and nothing is gained. The current state of the Syrian Civil War is a bleak one, where the end seems far out of sight.

Alternative Solutions

As a result of the death and destruction brought about by this brutal civil war, many countries around the world have discussed strategies that could bring an end to this conflict. During the early years of the war, the U.S and multiple other countries in the EU called for President Assad to step down due to his inability to lead a country that has different views from him (To Save Syria, 1). Now close to eight years into this conflict, this option is still on the table for execution. If Assad would step down and power would shift to a Sunni political figure, it would end the war and bring about a new era of fair treatment for the majority of the Syrian population.

Another way to end the war in Syria would be a joint Russian and U.S squeeze on the Syrian government which would no longer allow the Assad government to fight and function properly. For this to correctly work, the Russian government would have to start cutting the amount of military hardware it sends to its friend while at the same time, the U.S would start to use military force in the form of missile and drone strikes to cripple targets crucial to the Syrian military (The Case, 1).

The last solution to the Syrian Civil War would for the U.S, Russia, the Arab League, and the EU to impose serious economic sanctions which would deny the consumption of exports from Syria and also cut vital imports into Syria. This would in turn run the government out of income and resources which is vital to its ability to wage war.

Favorable Solution

On paper, all of these solutions seem to have the ability to accomplish the goal of ending the Syrian Civil War. In reality, though, all of these options have drawbacks specific to their strategies. The first solution where President Assad resigns would be ideal but is very unlikely. Assad has been able to wage war with poorly equipped rebels for almost eight years, and if continued for years to come, the rebels will most likely run out of fighting steam. Assad sees that he can win a war of attrition and will not step down anytime soon.

The second solution of a joint Syrian strangle orchestrated by the U.S and Russia is also unlikely. Although U.S-Russian relations have been on the mend in the past decade, these two superpowers are not ready to majorly team up, especially when it’s against one of Russia’s long-time allies. Also, when the military and government of Syria are in ruins, it creates a nasty breeding ground for radical religious and terrorist groups to form and spread.

The last solution of a full-on economic trade war with Syria is the most realistic strategy, but even this option has its downfalls. The major downfall of this solution is the economic well-being of the countries that sell products to Syria and as well as the countries that buy important goods from Syria. It’s very likely that here in the U.S, a massive trade war with Syria would not affect us directly but it would affect the smaller surrounding nations, and eventually make its way back to the United States.

Although choosing one of these possible solutions would likely prove ineffective, it is in my opinion that the execution of all three to a lesser degree simultaneously would result in an end to the Syrian Civil War. To start, smaller economic sanctions would be placed on Syria which would slowly start to drain the government’s resources. Next, the U.S would start to attack military installments to try and lessen the effectiveness of the government forces. While still being allies with Syria, Russia would be cutting its military shipments little by little, which would deny Syria the ability to replace the hardware destroyed by U.S attacks. This would in turn slowly shrink Syria’s military. As Assad starts to see his financial and military resources being drained, he also receives lots of negative political pressure from countries around the world. If these are all completed, I believe that Assad would cave, step down as acting president, and finally bring an end to the Syrian Civil War.


I Jacob J Shamion am the sole author of this paper. I am the collector of the information laid out within this paper as well as the creator of the opinions expressed in this paper. No other outside sources have been consulted to aid in the creation of this document.

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Syria's Path from the Uprising to the War. (2022, Jun 24). Retrieved from

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