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The war in Syria explained in five minutes | Guardian Animations

the syrian conflict

in five minutes after enduring decades

of authoritarian governments

the people of several middle eastern

countries raised their voices in protest

and ousted their leaders in what has

been called

the arab spring in egypt and tunisia

the uprisings were quick and decisive in

libya

the protest led to a short civil war

that ended with the death of muammar

gaddafi

syria is another story this is bashar

al-assad

president of syria his father

hafez ruled for 30 years during which he

modernized the country

but at the cost of a brutal repression

bashar came into power after his

father's death in 2000

and at first he signaled he would be a

different kind of leader

but the honeymoon with his people didn't

last

at the first sign of descent assad

tightened the restrictions to free

speech

isolated the economy and left very clear

that democratic rule wasn't in his plans

twelve years of repression had to pass

before thousands of people

following the example of egyptians and

tunisians

took to the streets to demand reforms

at first assad's stance was conciliatory

but the repression continued which in

turn multiplied protests around the

country

the army answered by opening fire

against the demonstrators

hundreds died and thousands more were

arrested

any chance of a peaceful resolution died

with the demonstrators

small groups of armed rebels started to

appear almost

immediately since then

government and rebels are mired in a war

that claimed the lives of more than 60

000

syrians in the first 18 months of

conflict

after world war 1 the french and the

british

established the borders of the middle

eastern countries

grouping many religions and ethnic

groups in the same territories

one of them the muslim sect of the

alawites

has been in command of syria since the

70s

despite representing only 12 percent of

the population

under the ideology of keeping the

country out of the hands of extremists

the assads heavily favored their set and

crushed those

who challenged them

since the outset of the war it was clear

that it would last a long time

mainly because the different rebel

groups didn't have numbers

weapons or a unifying ideology the only

thing they have in common

is a deep hate for assad

as the weeks and months pass the rebels

have increased in numbers and weapons

but not enough to topple assad who is

now receiving help

from iran also many of the rebel groups

have abused

killed and displaced civilians in the

name of the revolution

leaving many syrians wondering if the

cure is worse than the disease

mainly because russia and china have

blocked any kind of international effort

against assad russia and china

have interest in syria and their leaders

believe

the arab spring hasn't brought security

or stability

to the region

the u.s hasn't intervened openly because

it hasn't found a group who's aligned

with its ideology

and is wary that an intervention could

give strength to radical groups

the experts believe that assad will fall

eventually

the question is how long it will take

although the main rebel groups have

joined an alliance it could crumble once

assad is ousted

the struggle for power could lead to a

new civil war

and even to a fragmentation of the

country

the conflict could also extend to

countries such as turkey lebanon

and iraq threatening the fragile

stability

of the middle east no matter the outcome

whoever assumes power in syria will

inherit a country in ruins

with an economy in shambles a deeply

divided population

and the challenge to fulfill the

promises of the arab spring

so

you