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Syria's civil war

Updated: Thu, 22 May 2014

Introduction

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria launched a crackdown on anti-government protesters in March 2011.

What began as a peaceful uprising has gradually evolved into an armed insurgency, pitting rebels against government forces.

Syria's turmoil is dragging its neighbours into an increasingly sectarian confrontation between Shi'ites supporting Assad and Sunnis backing the Syrian rebels.

Read our full Syria war briefing.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria launched a crackdown on anti-government protesters in March 2011.

What began as a peaceful uprising has gradually evolved into an armed insurgency, pitting rebels against government forces.

Syria's turmoil is dragging its neighbours into an increasingly sectarian confrontation between Shi'ites supporting Assad and Sunnis backing the Syrian rebels.

Read our full Syria war briefing.