Why people are fleeing Syria: a brief, simple explanation
With the refugee crisis worsening as many Syrians attempt to flee to Europe, many people may find themselves wondering just how the war in that country got so bad, and why so many are fleeing now. Here, then, is a very brief history of the war, written so that anyone can understand it: Syria is a relatively new country: Its borders were constructed by European powers in the 1920s, mashing together several ethnic and religious groups. Since late 1970, a family from one of those smaller groups — the Assads, who are Shia Alawites — have ruled the country in a brutal dictatorship. Bashar al-Assad has been in power since 2000. This regime appeared stable, but when Arab Spring protests began in 2011, it turned out not to be. On March 18, Syrian security forces opened fire on peaceful protestors in the southern city of Deraa, killing three. Perhaps inevitably, Syrians took up arms to defend themselves. It worked. By 2014, Syria was divided between government, rebel, ISIS, and Kurdish forces.
• Global Economy