Syria’s tangled proxy wars: a simple visual guide

November 5, 2015

Syria’s civil war began four years ago with protests against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and the Ba’ath Party dictatorship. When those protests were suppressed with ruthless violence the protests evolved into an armed rebellion and then into full scale civil war. In the chaos of the civil the Islamists ISIS emerged as a powerful force that took the Syrian conflict beyond the borders of Syria. The Syrian civil war has in turn become a proxy war for regional powers such as Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as global powers such as the US and Russia. There are also foreign militias, Syrian militias, and Kurdish militias all involved in the fighting.

The animated infographic below helps explain what is going on, who’s involved, and what each side is trying to do, as well as the tangled web of relationships, alliances and antagonisms that run through the conflict. Click on the logos to see the web of relationships, or click on the line between any two actors to see how they interact. Note – if the infographic fails to appear try reloading the web page.


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