Video: Syria conflict explained - What caused civil war in Syria?
A look at the conflict in Syria and who is involved
THOUSANDS of Syrians have lost their lives in the conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and fighters opposed to his rule.
Now with the introduction of chemical weapons and a possible western involvement into the conflict still doesn’t seem to be in sight.
But how did it all start?
The uprising has its roots in the Syrian city of Dura, where protests erupted in March 2011. Security forces reportedly opened fire on demonstrators, killing several.
Footage filmed on mobile phones allegedly by people on the ground emerged online. At this stage impossible to verify but the only way western media got to see what was happening inside Syria.
As those who lost loved ones buried their dead in Dura, anti Assad demonstrations broke out in other towns and cities.
The government quickly turned to military force to crush the protests, deploying more and more tanks and troops and artillery over the following months.
All of a sudden it was less like public unrest and more like civil war.
By early 2012 fighting had reached the capital Damascus in the south and other large cities like Aleppo in the north.
Rebel forces advanced but government troops continued to fight back. Using overwhelming force to bombard areas they didn't control.
The devastation was clear in Homs levelled not long after Assad had odiously addressed a crowd of his supporters assuring them a victory.
The conflict continued to escalate with a general in the free Syrian army, the force formed largely of defectors from Assad's military claiming they had received help from western governments.
Russia and China opposed any involvement. The international political crisis is as complex as the military one inside Syria.
Scores more people lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands lost their lively hood. Fleeing the country as refugees. But even border regions weren't safe from violence.
Opposing forces continued to fight for the upper hand but mid 2013 saw chemical weapons used in an attack on civilians, killing dozens.
A UN inspection team was sent in, fingers were pointed at government forces.
Western involvement became an inevitability.