Council on Foreign Relations background report on the on going situation in Syria.

Foreign involvement in the Syrian civil war has significantly increased since the conflict began over five years ago. In August 2016, Turkey conducted an offensive with international coalition forces to retake the border town of Jarabulus from the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Russia began its military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in September 2015.

In August 2016, U.S.-backed rebels, with the support of coalition air strikes, liberated the strategic north Syrian city of Manbij from the Islamic State. The rebel victory dealt a major blow to the group, effectively cutting off smuggling routes to the north and supply routes between Aleppo and Raqqa (headquarters of the Islamic State). Syrian government forces have been making advances in the fight against the Islamic State with notable victories like the seizure of Palmyra, an ancient Syrian city that had been occupied by the group for nearly a year.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has been besieged for more than four years as Syrian government forces and rebels fight for control. The fighting has increased recently, with the death toll in the month of August 2016 alone standing at around 448 (including 100 children) as of August 28.

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