Syria. Following the somewhat surprising announcement by
US President Donald Trump in December 2018 that he would be
leaving Syria, the United States began the withdrawal of its
troops in January. At the same time, they promised not to
leave Syria until certain conditions were fulfilled,
including that the Islamic State (IS) should be expelled
from the area and that the Kurds and its allies were not
attacked, the latter with an address to Turkey.
However, the date of withdrawal was moved forward in
time. According to
CountryAAH, the final withdrawal came only in October when
President Trump felt that the alliance with the Kurds was
over. He now gave Turkey the go-ahead for an attack on
Kurdish targets in Syria. Following initial artillery fire
and aerial bombing, ground troops also entered Kurdish
Syrian territory. Together with Syrian rebel forces, the aim
was to fight "PKK, YPG and IS terrorists". The offensive was
given the slightly ironic name "Spring of Peace".
As a result of the Turkish attack, the Kurdish forces
signed an agreement on military support from Syria. This
meant that Syrian government troops were now deployed to
assist the Kurdish-led SDF forces (Syrian Democratic
Forces). The agreement was also backed by the Russian
Federation, which wanted to fill the void after the US. On
October 22, Turkey and the Russian Federation agreed to
jointly patrol northern Syria along the Turkish border. The
decision was made after a meeting in the Russian city of
Sochi between Turkish and Russian Federation presidents
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin - and after the
Kurdish YPG militia agreed to leave the security zone
occupied by Turkey.
In March, the US-backed Kurdish-Arab coalition SDF
announced that the Islamic State (IS) had been defeated in
Syria. This since the last stronghold of the terrorist
organization, the city of al-Baghuz, had been taken. The
offensive against al-Baghuz started in September 2018.
The pursuit of terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
continued during the year; The United States had promised a
$ 25 million reward for tips that could lead to his arrest.
In connection with an American military operation in
northern Syria, al-Baghdadi managed to take his life -
hoping to become a martyr. He triggered a suicide vest since
he moved into a tunnel; al-Baghdadi's three children and
several of his followers were also killed in the operation.
The 48-year-old al-Baghdadi, originally from Iraq, declared
a caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2014 and was then one of
the world's most wanted terrorists.
The Syrian war, which began in spring 2011 following
regime-critical protests in connection with the so-called
Arab Spring, has now, after eight years, claimed over
370,000 casualties, including 112,000 civilians. According
to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory (SOHR), 21,000 of
these children were. A March report from Oxfam and Danish
Refugee Support showed that 11.7 million people in Syria are
in need of humanitarian aid and that over 60% of these are
in areas controlled by the government. More than 80% of
Syria's population lives in poverty according to the same
In July, the UN reported that more than 400,000 people in
northwestern Syria had been forced to leave their homes
following intensified bombings and attacks by the Syrian
regime and its allied Russian federation over the past three
months. After the Turkish offensive in Syria in October,
more than 275,000 people had been forced to flee. At least
70,000 of them were children. At the end of the year, an
offensive against rebel-controlled areas in northwestern
Syria led to at least 235,000 people being forced to flee.
At a UN and EU-led donor conference in March, it was
estimated that the 5.6 million Syrians fleeing neighboring
countries are in need of $ 5.5 billion; an additional 3.3
billion is needed for those living in difficult conditions
inside Syria. In April, the United Nations found that after
more than eight years of war, Syria needs a $ 250 billion
injection to financially get back on its feet, a sum that
neither the Syrian al-Assad regime nor its allied Russian
federation and Iran can best contribute with.
Damascus - history
Damascus is mentioned in Egyptian texts from the time of Tuthmosis III
(1477-1425 BC); the city is older, but since it has not been available for
excavation, there is no archaeological evidence for it. In the Late Bronze Age,
Damascus was the capital of the land of Upi, part of the Egyptian Empire. After
approx. 1000 BC became the capital of the Aramaic state of Aram-Damascus and was
the leader of a coalition at the Battle of Karkar 853 BC. In 732 BC. Damascus
came under Assyrian, later Babylonian, Persian and Seleucid rule, until in 63
BC. was conquered by the Romans. Throughout ancient times, Damascus was one of
the most important hubs for the caravan trade.
In Hellenistic-Roman times, a large part of the city's population was Jewish,
and Damascus was of central importance to the oldest Christian church. It was on
the way to Damascus that Paul was converted, just as it is known as the
episcopal see as early as 325. In 379, a church for John the Baptist was built
by Theodosius I the Great on the site of the Hadad Temple, later the Temple of
Jupiter; it was later rebuilt into the Umayyad Mosque.
After the Arab conquest of Syria and Palestine in the 630's, Damascus became
one of several military centers for the caliphate army. In 656, Muawiyah was
hailed as the caliph of Damascus, although he first became sole ruler in 661,
and until 750, the city was the political center of the caliphate. Under
Caliph al-Walid I, the Umayyad Mosque was erected.
After the Abbasids took power in 750, the caliphate's capital was moved to
Baghdad in 762, and Damascus lost its former significance. Through 800-t. and
900-t. was the center of several revolts against the Abbasid caliph. First
under Nur al-Din, which conquered the city in 1154, Damascus regained its former
greatness and became the political center of a dynasty. Through the 1100's, and
1200-t. the city was adorned with a multitude of buildings that still
characterize parts of the old city. Mattresses, new mosques, mausoleums and
hospitals were built. The city was in close contact with Italian merchants, and
this led to the construction of a number of caravan series. Damascus also became
an important cultural center, where Sunni Muslim scholars actively refuted the
propaganda directed by the Shia Muslim Fatimids from Egypt against the Sunni
When the Mamluks secured power in 1260, Damascus was again reduced to a
provincial city. However, the city remained an important trading city, but its
significance for cultural life diminished. During the Ottomans in the
1500's. Damascus gained great importance as a gathering place for groups of
pilgrims from Anatolia, Syria and Palestine on their way to Mecca.
Damascus was until the 1900's, in competition with Aleppo the most important
trading city in Syria. When the French were given the mandate over Syria by the
League of Nations in 1920, Damascus was chosen as the center of the French
mandate administration, and when Syria became independent in 1946, Damascus
became the capital.
During the Syrian civil war, Damascus has been hit by terrorist attacks since
2011, just as some districts have been ravaged by fierce fighting between rebels
and government forces.