Syrian Civil War

The Crisis of Europe

Europe 2015.1007

Syrian Civil War

Eurozone crisis (7 October 2015)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

Although the US and its allies moved to support Iraq against Daesh (ISIL/IS), the situation in Syria was more complicated. There a deeply divided rebellion had been attempting to oust the unpopular President Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Assad was supported by Russia and Iran, but while the West generally opposed him, any weakening of his position tended to strengthen the even more objectionable Daesh.

Main Events

European migrant crisis

An increasing number of refugees and migrants arrived in the European Union via the Mediterranean Sea and Southeast Europe to apply for asylum. The majority came from Syria, with Afghanistan and Eritrea also highly represented. The states of Europe were divided on how to process the one million migrants expected to reach the continent by 2016, even though this number represented only a fraction of the total refugees displaced within Africa and the Middle East.

Coalitions against Daesh

The United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland, and Denmark agreed to support anti-Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria with supplies and air support. Ten days later, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and Spain also committed to supporting the Iraqi government in its fight against Daesh's self-proclaimed Islamic State. On December 3, the countries mentioned above, with the exception of China and Russia, formed a coalition with another 33 countries to cut off Daesh's financing and coordinate and support military operations.

Daesh in Libya

Abu al-Baraa el-Azdi, leader of Daesh (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), released an audio-recording in which he accepted pledges of allegiance from supporters in five countries, including Libya. A number of militant Islamic groups across the country took up the Daesh's Black Standard, using the city of Sirte as their main base.

Eurasian Economic Union

On 29 May 2014, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), creating a single economic market, with Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joining later that year. The EAEU would succeed the Eurasian Economic Community (2000-2014), coming into effect on 1 January 2015.

Minsk II

After talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany at Minsk, Belarus, an immediate and full ceasefire came into effect in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine. This largely brought an end to fighting in the Donbass War, although there were still occasional skirmishes over the following two years.

Greek bailout referendum

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party, held a referendum over whether to accept the bailout conditions proposed by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank to manage the Greek government-debt crisis. The result was a 61% to 39% rejection of the bailout conditions. On the 13th, the Greek government accepted a milder bailout package.

Russian intervention in Syria

After a formal request from the Syrian government, the Russian Federation began a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War by mounting air strikes in areas around the cities of Homs and Hama. The United States and Saudi Arabia disputed Russian allegations that the strikes were directed only against Daesh (ISIL) positions, claiming that moderate Syrian opposition forces were being hit.

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