The combat has been raging in Syria for going on five years at this point, and the havoc wrought throughout the country has left an indelible impact on both the country and the world at large. Perhaps the most stirring example of this travesty’s repercussions is in the extensive damage done to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. A blog called olympia.gr has collected images of the devastation in order to illustrate the terrible cost that the country’s civil war has taken.
1. Fighting in February
The fighting in Aleppo reached a fever pitch in February of this year, when government military forces, backed by Russian fighter jets, cut off supply lines to what was once one of Syria’s most beautiful towns.
2. More than Just a Civil War
Since fighting broke out in earnest, Syria has seen skirmishes fought not just between current ruler Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the rebels, but among those sides and Kurdish and ISIS forces, as well.
3. Growing Political Unrest
The issues in Syria first came to light in March of 2011, when a group of teens were arrested for painting anti-Assad graffiti.
4. All the Sanctions
By the end of 2011, a full revolt was in action. Assad’s mission to quell the country’s growing support of democracy drew sanctions from both the United States and the European Union.
5. No EU Intervention
Beyond the sanctions, the European Union drafted a measure designed to put an end to the violence Assad’s regime was inflicting on its people. Though nine of the 15-member council countries (including the US) voted to adopt the measure, it was put down thanks, in part, to vetoes from Russia and China.
6. The Arab League Comes and Goes
In early December 2011, representatives of the Arab league got members of the Syrian civil war to sign an accord that will end violence. Violence continues. The Arab League takes off at the end of January 2012.
7. The Arab League Doesn’t Go Far, Though
The Arab League continues to advocate for the victims of the civil war and call for Assad’s resignation. The United Nations General Assembly is quick to support the measure … though Assad must have missed the memo.
8. The Promise of Democracy
A vote within the country illustrates that more than 90 percent of the population is in favor of a democratic multi-party system in the country.
9. One Year In
The United Nations claims that the death toll in Syria has climbed to 8,000. The rebels exclaim that those numbers are modest at best. Most of the victims are non-combatants.
10. The Threat of Chemical Weapons
After a UN peace-keeping mission is forced to withdraw due to the continued violence, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, says if they are set upon by “external aggression” that Syria is not afraid to use chemical or biological warfare.
11. A Crack in Assad’s Regime
Riyad al-Hijab resigns from his post as Syria’s Prime Minister and defects from Assad’s regime. The news is broken the next morning, after al-Hijab and his family have escaped to Jordan.
12. Annoying the Neighbors
After the civil war spills over into Israel and Turkey in fall of 2012, Israel fires warning shots at Syria for the first time in 40 years and Turkey sets about sending military into Syria.
13. Two Years In
The UN Security Council puts the number of civilians killed in the two years since fighting started to be around 70,000.
14. Proof of Chemical Weapons
In April of 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announces that the United States has proof that Syria used the chemical weapon sarin gas on its own citizens.
15. Rising in Profile
In May of 2013, US Senator John McCain makes a trip to visit Syrian rebels. This marks the visit of the highest ranking US official to visit the country since fighting began.
16. Crossing the Red Line
Following public condemnation from President Barack Obama, the United Nations announced that it will send a team of 10 experts into Syria in order to determine whether reports of sarin gas use can be substantiated.
17. Neurotoxic Symptoms
On August 24, 2013, Doctors Without Borders announces that three hospitals near the supposed sarin gas attack treated patients with symptoms that match the reaction to nerve gas. Two days later, as the UN inspectors reach the supposed site of the attack, their team is attacked by a sniper.
18. Ceding Power to Russia
In early September 2013, Syria announces that it will give up control of all its chemical weapons to Russia. This proposal helps Syria and Bashar al-Assad narrowly avoid a military strike from the United States.
19. Get Rid of the Chemical Weapons
At the end of September, the UN Security Council demands that Syria destroy all of its chemical weapons. Al-Assad agrees. On Halloween, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons states that Syria has held up its end of the bargain.
20. The Iran of it All
As the UN gathers the Syrian combatants for peace talks entitled Geneva II, representatives of the Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Coalition, refuse to participate if Iran is involved. Iran’s invitation is rescinded.
21. The Mislead
In February of 2014, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says that the remaining chemical weapon stockpile in Syria — which was supposed to be gone — has only been depleted by 11 percent.
22. The Re-Election
Following comments from Secretary of State John Kerry at Geneva II that claimed Bashar al-Assad should have no part in the transition government, al-Assad is re-elected in June of 2014, receiving 88.7 percent of the vote.
23. Cessation of Hostilities
Fighting under the guise of a “war on terror” Russia enters the fray, helping the existing Assad government put down the “ISIS threat”. Gradually, hostilities cease and Russia withdraws.