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Loren Muraca

Syria: The story of the conflict. Image copyright Getty Images More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war.

Syria: The story of the conflict

More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other - as well as jihadist militants from so-called Islamic State. This is the story of the civil war so far, in eight short chapters. 1. Uprising turns violent Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall.

The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad's resignation. Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas. Rand Paul Debates Marco Rubio on Syrian Refugees. Rubio Speech. Here are highlights from CNN's Republican presidential debate on Dec. 15 in less than two minutes.

Rubio Speech

(Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post) Nine Republican candidates participated in Tuesday's 2016 presidential debate in Las Vegas: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), former Florida governor Jeb Bush, former tech executive Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and Sen.

The complete transcript of the debate is below. Common Sense: Young and Old. Under Rubio’s new proposal, outlined on FOX News Sunday, the United States would focus on resettling the oldest and youngest refugees inside the United States, including those orphaned and widowed in what has become an Islamist battleground.

Common Sense: Young and Old

Rubio argued these refugees could be admitted under the “commonsense” test: “the 5-year-old orphan, a 90-year-old widow, and well-known Chaldean priest, these are obviously commonsense applications, and you can clearly vet them just by commonsense.” This new tactic may be a politically risky one for Senator Rubio, as an outright majority of all voters oppose any Syrian resettlement—and, according to Rasmussen, 65 percent of conservative voters want zero refugees admitted into the U.S. from the Middle East.

Under U.S. law, once a refugee is admitted, they are placed on a fast-track to citizenship and given instant access to federal welfare and can bring their foreign relatives into the country as well. Philadelphia police officer shot 'in the name of Islam' A gunman claiming allegiance to Islamic State militants shot and seriously wounded a Philadelphia police officer, saying he ambushed his patrol car "in the name of Islam," the city's police commissioner said on Friday.

Philadelphia police officer shot 'in the name of Islam'

Edward Archer of Philadelphia approached Officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, shortly before midnight and fired 11 rounds, three of which hit the officer in his arm, authorities said. Police released still images from surveillance video that showed the gunman dressed in a long white robe walking toward the car and firing, eventually getting close enough to shoot at point-blank range through the window. Hartnett chased Archer, who was arrested by responding officers and later confessed to the attack, police officials told reporters. Woman in San Bernardino rampage pledged allegiance to ISIS, sources say. <div>Please enable Javascript to watch this video</div> SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Investigators think that as the San Bernardino attack was happening, female shooter Tashfeen Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.

Woman in San Bernardino rampage pledged allegiance to ISIS, sources say

Malik's post was made on an account with a different name, one U.S. official said. The officials did not explain how they knew Malik made the post. A law enforcement official said it appeared that Wednesday's attack -- which left 14 people dead and 21 wounded before the two attackers, Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, were killed in a shootout with police -- may have been inspired by ISIS. But none of the officials said that ISIS directed or ordered the attack. ISIS goes global: Over 60 attacks in 20 countries have killed about 1,150 people - KRXI - Reno NV Top Stories - News, Sports, Weather. (CNN) -- When a married couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, they committed the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.

ISIS goes global: Over 60 attacks in 20 countries have killed about 1,150 people - KRXI - Reno NV Top Stories - News, Sports, Weather

The assault also underscored an unsettling reality: ISIS has morphed from a scourge affecting Iraq and Syria to a threat to people around the world. Since declaring its caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has conducted or inspired over 60 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that have killed at least 1,150 people and injured more than 1,700 others.

One San Bernardino killer pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader, investigators say. And ISIS hailed the attackers as "martyrs" and "supporters. " Did ISIS actually order the attack? It can be difficult at times to divine the precise role that international terrorists play in this or that attack. Yet one thing is clear: The deadly tentacles of ISIS have spread quickly, from the terrorist group's epicenter in parts of Iraq and Syria to points around the globe. Class Survey - Syrian Refugees. Class Survey - Syrian Refugees. Class Survey - Syrian Refugees.