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

International coalitions against Daesh

The United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland, and Denmark agree 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 commit 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), releases an audio-recording in which he accepts pledges of allegiance from supporters in five countries, including Libya. A number of militant Islamic groups across the country take up the Daesh's Black Standard, using the city of Sirte as their main base.

Minsk II

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

Greek bailout referendum

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party, holds 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 is a 61% to 39% rejection of the bailout conditions. On the 13th, the Greek government accepts a milder bailout package.

Russian intervention in Syria

After a formal request from the Syrian government, the Russian Federation starts 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 dispute Russian allegations that the strikes are directed against Daesh (ISIL) positions, claiming that moderate Syrian opposition forces are being hit.

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