Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War began March 2011 with the simultaneous popular uprising in many Mideast countries called the Arab Spring. The Syrian government was swift to put down the protests and defenseless citizens were gunned down in the tens of thousands.
The government is comprised of Alawites of the Shia Islam religion led by Bashar al-Assad of the Ba'ath Party. Embolden by the successful ousting of leaders in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, Sunni Muslims of the Free Syrian Army, foreign fighters from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chechnya, the U.K., Ireland and terrorist forces have been furiously attacking government troops. The Syrian army would chase them down in occupied areas such as Homs, and bombard the city. Government forces that have been reluctant to fire on their own people and have fled for safety in Turkey. A large segment of population has fled to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. 
The UN has condemned military actions, called for a cease fire and sought to punish Syria with sanctions. Western nations were in agreement. Russia and China have vetoed any efforts. About half of the 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Syria are children and adolescents, says a UNICEF spokesperson. 
In July 2012, rebel forces started attacking the government in their capital of Damascus. A suicide bomber penetrated and killed the President's brother-in-law and the army military commander, signaling a turning point. Brigade of Islam took credit for the attack. Also in July, rebels lauched attacks on Syria's most populace northern city of Aleppo. Rebels had captured all Iraqi border positions until government forces fought back. Iraqi trade routes are a valuable lifeline to the regimes survival.
The Obama position started in support of Assad, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling him a reformer. As of late, the U.S. government has been telling him to step down. In March 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated for the first time that the U.S. is training Syrian rebels.  Russia is Syria's ally and has been supplying the regime with weapons. Putin is angry with the Obama administration for helping the rebels, blaming the U.S. for the deteriorating situation. Turkey has been critical of its neighbor and tensions are high with the addition of mass refugees and its fighter jet shot down by Syrian armed forces. Obama has sought to do more for the rebels and has vowed to work with Turkey to topple Assad. In addition, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have set up a base in Turkey to help funnel supplies and weapons.  Israel does not want to see chemicals weapons in the hands of rebels and has publicly announced they have military plans to stop that transaction. Iran says they will not let the Assad regime collapse and is prepared to attack Qatar and Saudi Arabia. 
The Muslim Brotherhood will seek to rule Syria when the Assad regime collapses. Huge stockpiles of chemical weapons and elements of Al Qaeda terrorist group pose regional threats in the post-Assad era. 
The Turkish government has condemned the war in Syria. Also, they house 90,000 refugees from Syria. In October, Syria shelled a Turkish border town killing five civilians. Turkey's Parliament authorized military operations against Syria. The bill opens the way for unilateral action by Turkey's armed forces inside Syria.  Turkey responded by shelling Syria for five days. Earlier in 2012, Syria shot down a Turkish fighter plane killing two pilots.
U.S. Political Reactions
A majority of Conservatives feel the U.S. should stay out of this civil war. In addition, they feel arming Islamic rebels is not in our interests. Conservative Rand Paul believes the Obama administration is funneling weapons to Syrian terrorist organizations through Libya.  A few Republicans such as Mitt Romney have called for arming the Syrian Islamic opposition with weapons. A majority of Democrats have expressed no opposition to the Obama administration policy of funding extremists and toppling Assad.
- Video: Syrian Rebels Attack Government Positions
- Video: Assad Unleashes Helicopter Gunships On Rebels As Intense Fighting Rages In Damascus
- Syria: the horror of Homs, a city at war video by Channel 4 News
- Video: Syria confirms it has stockpiles of chemical weapons
- American Islamists are supporting the rebels