Introduction

The need to understand the Syrian conflict is even more imperative since it has extended to Europe and is affecting us profoundly. The shock of the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, terrorist actions elsewhere and the growing flow of refugees towards Europe, bring us dramatically closer to this distant tragedy.

“Take a moment to learn” is what we propose here. We try to provide some answers, as simplified as possible, without being simplistic, by reviewing the different phases of this conflict which has continuously expanded and intensified over the past five years and by discussing frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the causes, nature, actors, stakes and possible outcomes.

“Recall, explain, and decipher” the facts, the dimensions and the stakes involved in the events which have occurred over the past five years in and around Syria is the objective of our initiative. To do so, we refer to dates, figures and information which have been verified and compared with many of the most reliable sources. We have grouped the questions in themes in order to facilitate the account of the events and their clarification.

Who are we? Syrian, French and Franco-Syrian journalists and university scholars who have closely followed the events in Syria and the region for many years. Without pretending to be neutral, we privilege an objective approach to the realities of the situation and we assume with lucidity our support to democracy for all Syrians.

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