Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War refers to political, military and operational support to parties involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria that began in March 2011, as well as active foreign involvement. Most parties involved in the war in Syria receive various types of support from foreign countries and entities based outside Syria. The ongoing conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers, primarily between the U.S. and Russia as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The Syrian opposition, politically represented by the Syrian National Coalition, receives financial, logistical, political and in some cases military support from major Sunni states in the Middle East allied with the U.S., most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. From early stages of the civil conflict in Syria, major Western countries such as the U.S, France, and the UK provide political, military and logistic support to the opposition as well as rebel groups in Syria that are not designated by them as terrorist.
The predominantly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the main armed service of the Kurdish Supreme Committee, the government of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), have received military and logistic support from Iraqi Kurdistan and air support by U.S., Canada, British and French air force.
As a significant part of Syria′s territory is since 2014 claimed by the Islamic State (ISIL), an entity internationally recognised as terrorist, a number of Western and other countries, most notably the U.S., Russia and France, participate in direct military action against ISIL in the territory of Syria.
Since 30 September 2015, Russia, the only foreign power that has its military assets openly stationed in Syria, wages an intensive air campaign against ISIL and other anti-government forces in Syria, on the side and at the request of the Syrian government. The military activity of Russia in Syria has been criticized by the U.S. and its regional allies; Turkey overtly clashed with the Russian military in November 2015 over the alleged violation of its airspace by a Russian plane as well as over Russia′s bombardment of the areas held by anti-government forces that are supported by Turkey, especially in the Bayırbucak region. Since July 2015, Turkey also openly and actively opposes further expansion of the Syrian Kurdish forces along its border.
- 1 Support for the Syrian government
- 2 Support for the Syrian opposition
- 3 Support to the Syrian Kurds
- 4 Support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
- 5 Support for Turkey
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Support for the Syrian government
Russia is a military ally of Syria since 1956, and during the Syrian Civil War it continued supplying Assad's government with arms, sending military and technical advisers to train Syrian soldiers to use the Russian-made weapons, and it helped repair and maintain Syrian weapons. Investigations by reporters suggest that Russia is helping to keep the Syrian economy afloat by transporting hundreds of tonnes of banknotes into the country by airplane.
In December 2012, it was reported that Russian military personnel under the guise of military advisers were inside Syria manning some of the anti-aircraft defenses sent by Russia. The depth and sophistication of Syria's air defences was cited as a major reason for the U.S. decision not to intervene militarily against the Syrian government or impose a no-fly zone, despite publicly voiced commitment to do so if the Assad government crossed the "red line" of using chemical weapons.
Western leaders and diplomats repeatedly criticized Russia's support of the Syrian government; Russia stressed that its actions did not violate international law. In June 2012, Russian president Vladimir Putin said Russia did not support "any side [in the conflict] from which the threat of a civil war may emerge".
In December 2013, Russia was reported to have stepped up its military support for the Syrian government by supplying new armored vehicles, surveillance equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems, spare parts for helicopters, and various weapons including guided bombs for planes.
On 30 September 2015, with permission of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, Russia started a direct military intervention in Syria consisting of air strikes against ISIL, the Al-Nusra Front, and other perceived enemies of the Syrian government. The Russian Orthodox Church official spokesman called the intervention by Russia in Syria a "holy fight" (or holy struggle) against terrorism. Russia claimed the attacks were against the ISIL positions. However, according to reports, the Russian air strikes targeted positions held by the Army of Conquest coalition including the Saudi/Turkish-backed Al-Nusra Front and by Salafi-jihadi coalition known as Ahrar ash-Sham.
In autumn 2015, the U.S. ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria. However, on 20 October 2015, the U.S. and Russia signed a secret technical memorandum of understanding to avoid air incidents over Syria.
On 22 November 2015, Syria′s president Bashar Assad said that within two months of its air strikes Russia had achieved more than the U.S.-led coalition in its fight against Islamic State for a year. Two days later, the U.S. president Barack Obama, speaking after a meeting with his French counterpart François Hollande, said: "Russia right now is a coalition of two, Iran and Russia, supporting Assad. Given Russia’s military capabilities and given the influence they have on the Assad regime, them cooperating would be enormously helpful in bringing about a resolution of the civil war in Syria, and allow us all to refocus our attention on ISIL. But I think it’s important to remember that you’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia is the outlier."
At the end of December 2015, senior U.S. officials privately admitted that Russia had achieved its central goal of stabilising the Assad government and, with the costs and casualties relatively low, was in a position to sustain the operation at this level for years to come.
Iran and Syria are close strategic allies, and Iran has provided significant support for Syria in the Syrian Civil War. This is said to include technical support, some combat troops, and $9bn in financial support. Iran views the civil war as a critical front in an existential battle that directly relates to its geopolitical security. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was reported in September 2011 to be vocally in favor of the Syrian government. The Syrian city of Zabadani is vitally important to Assad and to Iran because, at least as late as June 2011, the city served as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps's logistical hub for supplying Hezbollah.
In the civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War, Iran was said to be providing Syria with technical support based on Iran's capabilities developed following the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests. As the uprising developed into civil war, there were increasing reports of Iranian military support, partly in response to reports of increasing military support to the Syrian opposition from Persian gulf states.
In the autumn of 2015, Iran reluctantly signed on to the road map based on the 2012 Geneva Communique that was worked out during the two rounds of Syria talks in Vienna. After the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei in Tehran on 23 November 2015, Iran was said to have made a decision to unify its stance vis-a-vis the Syrian leadership with Russia's.
Hezbollah has long been an ally of the Ba'ath Party government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. Hezbollah has allegedly helped the Syrian government in its fight against the armed Syrian opposition. As early as November 2011, The Jerusalem Post reported that protesters in Syria, enraged at Hezbollah's support for the Syrian government, have burnt Hezbollah flags and images of Nasrallah, while pro-government protesters have carried posters of Nasrallah.
In August 2012, the United States sanctioned Hezbollah for its alleged role in the war. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in a 12 October 2012 speech that "right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hezbollah sent 3,000 fighters to Syria, which we have denied". However, he said that Hezbollah fighters have gone to Syria independently and died there doing their "jihadist duties". Hezbollah states it supports a process of reforms in Syria and is against what it calls US plots to destabilize and interfere in Syria.
In January–February 2012, Hezbollah fighters allegedly helped the government fight the rebels in Damascus and in the Battle of Zabadani. Later that year, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon and took over eight villages in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria. According to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship". In September 2012, Hezbollah's commander in Syria, Ali Hussein Nassif, was killed along with several other Hezbollah militants in an ambush by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) near Al-Qusayr.
According to the US, the Assad loyalist militia known as Jaysh al-Sha'bi was created and is maintained by Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard, both of whom provide it with money, weapons, training and advice. Also, according to Israeli intelligence sources, Hezbollah is working to forge loyalist government militias into a 100,000-strong irregular army to fight alongside the government's conventional forces.
On 30 January 2013, about ten jets bombed a convoy believed to be carrying Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Lebanon. The attack, attributed by some media reports to Israeli airforce, did not result in any counterattacks from Syria, although Syria has said it reserves the right to retaliate. Western intelligence sources reported that Iranian general Hassan Shateri had been killed in the airstrike. Iran acknowledged his death at the hands of the Israelis without further details. Israel refused to comment on its involvement in the incident.
On 16–17 February 2013, Syrian opposition groups claimed that Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian military, attacked three FSA-controlled Sunni villages in Al-Qusayr. An FSA spokesman said, "Hezbollah's invasion is the first of its kind in terms of organisation, planning and coordination with the Syrian regime's air force". Hezbollah said three Lebanese Shias, "acting in self-defense", were killed in the clashes with the FSA. Lebanese security sources said that the three were Hezbollah members. In response, the FSA allegedly attacked two Hezbollah positions on 21 February; one in Syria and one in Lebanon. Five days later, it said it destroyed a convoy carrying Hezbollah fighters and Syrian officers to Lebanon, killing all the passengers. The leaders of the March 14 alliance and other prominent Lebanese figures called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria and said it is putting Lebanon at risk. Subhi al-Tufayli, Hezbollah's former leader, said "Hezbollah should not be defending the criminal regime that kills its own people and that has never fired a shot in defense of the Palestinians". He said "those Hezbollah fighters who are killing children and terrorizing people and destroying houses in Syria will go to hell". The Consultaive Gathering, a group of Shia and Sunni leaders in Baalbek-Hermel, also called on Hezbollah not to "interfere" in Syria. They said "Opening a front against the Syrian people and dragging Lebanon to war with the Syrian people is very dangerous and will have a negative impact on the relations between the two". Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, also called on Hezbollah to end its involvement and claimed that "Hezbollah is fighting inside Syria with orders from Iran".
News organizations reported that Israel allegedly attacked Syria on the night between 2 and 3 May 2013. US officials said that the Israeli war planes shot into Syria from Lebanese air space, and that the warplanes did not enter Syrian air space. No counter-attacks by Syria were reported at any front, and the Syrian ambassador to the UN said that he was not aware of any attacks on Syria by Israel. Israel as well declined any comment. Another alleged attack was reported to be a set of massive explosions in Damascus on the night of 4–5 May 2013. Syrian state media described this as an "Israeli rocket attack", with the targets including a military research center of the Syrian government in Jamraya. The Daily Telegraph reported anonymous Israeli sources as saying that this was an Israeli attack on Iranian-made guided missiles allegedly intended to be shipped to Hezbollah. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition monitoring group based in Britain, said at least 42 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strikes. Another violent event, possibly linking Israel, occurred in July 2013 in Latakia. Both Syria and Israel denied any report, while Hezbollah claimed that large explosions in Latakia area were caused by rebel mortar fire. Reportedly, the attack targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles near the city of Latakia, and killed several Syrian troops. Russian news agency also reported of Turkish involvement in the incident. On November 2013, a US official stated that Israel conducted an air strike on a Syrian weapons store near Latakia.
In February 2015, an official document concerning the interrogation of an Iranian prisoner that was conducted by the United Al-Sham [Greater Syria] Front of the Free Syrian Army reveals that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah have built a military and terrorist infrastructure on the Syrian Golan. The document reveals information about ‘sleeper cells’ that have been trained by Hezbollah and the IRGC, and cooperate with them such as by conveying information on the movement of the rebels and the commanders. A monetary sum of 100,000-200,000 Syrian liras has been budgeted expressly for those [spies] who carry out a suicide attack against the Free Syrian Army.
In February 2012, it was reported that Hugo Chávez's government in Venezuela had been shipping tens of millions of dollars of diesel to Syria, which can be used to fuel army tanks. The following month, as it prepared a third shipment, Venezuela confirmed that it would continue sending diesel to the country. The Wall Street Journal obtained documents showing that a fourth big shipment of diesel was being readied in July 2012: "the deals are structured to bring other benefits, including shielding Syria's dwindling foreign-exchange reserves". The paper also noted that even "Syria's political opposition is split on the issue of cutting off all energy exports to the country. While they would like to see Mr. Assad's tanks run out of fuel, they also worry that a shortage of diesel could equally undermine the political and military opposition inside Syria." Chávez openly expressed his support for Assad's government while he was alive.
North Korea (DPRK)
On 21 September 2012, Iraqi officials stated that they had refused a North Korean plane suspected of carrying weapons entry into Iraqi airspace en route to Syria. Earlier in the year, a UN probe was launched into North Korean arms deals with Syria and Myanmar in violation of international sanctions. The probe confirmed that North Korea was continuing to supply arms to Syria and Myanmar despite strict sanctions imposed in 2006 and 2009, using "elaborate techniques" to avoid interception. According to the report, one such "shipment originated in the DPRK, was trans-shipped in Dalian (China), and Port Klang (Malaysia), and transited through other ports... en route to Latakia, Syria." Illegal shipments were apparently not halted by the outbreak of war in Syria: according to a November 2012 report, a Chinese-registered ship containing North Korean missile parts, made in Chongjin, bound for Syria was seized by South Korean authorities in May 2012.
Other reports suggest that dozens of Arabic-speaking Korean People's Army officers have aided planning of military operations and have supervised artillery bombardments in the Aleppo area. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that 15 North Korean pilots operate combat helicopters in the country. Information on two North Korean military units called "Chalma-1" and "Chalma-2" fighting alongside Syrian government troops also surfaced in 2016.
Algeria has been one of a small number of Arab and Islamic states, to oppose punitive measures against the Syrian government. It opposed (with Iran) Syria's suspension from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 2012. It also opposed the Arab League decisions to encourage military support for the Syrian Opposition among member states, and opposed recognition of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, both decisions undertaken by the Arab League in 2013. Algeria was supported in its position by only two other Arab League states, Iraq and Lebanon. There is no concrete evidence that Algeria has been directly arming the Assad government, but there are rumours of Algerian military aircraft regularly landing in Syria. The Algerian government is believed to be strongly opposed to regime change in Syria.
From 2011, Iraqi Government has sent Assad financial support. Iraq has opened its airspace for use by Iranian planes ferrying support to the Syrian government, and has granted trucks bound for Syria carrying supplies from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards passage through Iraqi territory. Iraqi government has signed a deal to provide Syria with diesel fuel.
23 and 24 February 2011, Lebanese Military Intelligence agents arrested six members of one Syrian family after they distributed flyers in Lebanon calling for protests against the Syrian government. 25 February, one of them with two of his brothers vanished in Lebanon without leaving a trace. Human Rights Watch feared that Lebanon is back shutting up Syrian critics, perhaps forcibly transferring them to Syria.
In 2016 Alexander Lukashenko expressed his support for Moscow getting involved and offered air strikes by the Belarusian military.
A Greece-based trading company, Naftomar, is reputedly the last firm arranging deliveries of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), but, unlike the fuel sent from Venezuela and Russia, LPG is a peaceful material that plays a vital role in countries like Syria that have limited infrastructure for piping gas. International sanctions do not apply to LPG for humanitarian reasons.
The release of WikiLeaks's "Syria Files" beginning in July 2012 led to accusations that the subsidiary of an Italian arms company had provided communications equipment to the Syrian military in May 2011, and that, as late as February 2012, its engineers gave training on the use of the communications technology, including how it could be installed in helicopters. The company said the equipment was for civilian use and said it had not sold any technology to Syria since the beginning of the uprising.
According to the a report in the Daily Mail, British companies sold sodium fluoride, which has many civil applications such as water fluoridation, but is also a key ingredient in the manufacture of sarin, to a Syrian firm from 2004-2010. Between July 2004 and May 2010, the British government issued five export licenses to two companies, with the last export license was issued in May 2010. The licenses are obtained prior to manufacture and the industry standard requires four to five months before the chemicals are delivered, thus allowing them to sell Syria sodium fluoride.
Support for the Syrian opposition
For several initial months of the Syrian uprising that began in March 2011, the U.S. administration headed by Barack Obama, despite pressure from some political groups, refrained from outright calls for Bashar Assad′s ouster, a move then opposed by key regional U.S. allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. First, limited, sanctions against the Assad government were imposed by the U.S. in April 2011, followed by Obama′s executive order as of 18 May 2011 targeting Bashar Assad specifically and six other senior officials. In July 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said president Assad had “lost legitimacy.” On 18 August 2011, Barack Obama issued a written statement echoed by the leaders of the UK, France, and Germany, that inter alia said: “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside." On the same day the U.S. president signed executive orders that froze all Syrian government assets that were under U.S. jurisdiction, barred Americans from doing business with the government, and prohibited the import of Syrian oil and petroleum products to the United States. The U.S. sanctions were called by Syria’s U.N. ambassador Bashar Jaafari "a humanitarian and diplomatic war against us."
Under the administration's division of labor, the State Department is in charge of supplying nonlethal aid (includes food rations and pickup trucks, not tanks and bullets), while the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) runs a covert program to arm and train the Syrian rebels.
In June 2012, the CIA was reported to be involved in covert operations along the Turkish-Syrian border, where agents investigated rebel groups, recommending arms providers which groups to give aid to. Agents also helped opposition forces develop supply routes, and provided them with communications training. CIA operatives distributed assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to Syrian opposition. The State Department has reportedly allocated $15 million for civilian opposition groups in Syria.
In July 2012, the U.S. government granted a non-governmental organization called Syrian Support Group a license to fund the Free Syrian Army. In 2016, a number of U.S. officials revealed that the CIA in 2012 proposed a detailed covert action plan designed to remove Bashar Assad from power, but president Obama declined to approve it.
In early March 2013, a Jordanian security source revealed that the U.S., Britain, and France were training non-Islamist rebels in Jordan. In an effort to strengthen secular elements in the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, and to begin building security forces to maintain order in the event of Bashar al-Assad's fall. In April 2013, also in Jordan, the United States had set up a $70 million program in the country "that is training the kingdom's special forces to identify and secure chemical-weapons sites across Syria should the regime fall and the wrong rebels look like getting their hands on them."
In April 2013, the Obama administration promised to double non-lethal aid to rebels, specifically to $250 million.
On 13 June 2013, U.S. government officials said the administration, after days of high-level meetings, had approved providing lethal arms to the Supreme Military Council (SMC). The SMC is a rebel command structure that includes representatives from most major rebel groups, and excludes the Islamic extremist elements. The decision was made shortly after the administration concluded that the Assad government had used chemical weapons on opposition forces, thus crossing the "red line" declared by Obama earlier in 2012. The arms to be provided included small arms and ammunition, and possibly anti-tank weapons. However, they were not to include anti-aircraft weapons, something repeatedly requested by the armed opposition. Further such weapons would be supplied by the US "on our own timeline".
In mid-June 2013, the U.S. government said it would now arm rebels in Syria; besides, the U.S- was considering a no-fly zone in Syria′s southern border with Jordan, which would allow a safe place to equip and train rebels.
The U.S. government′s rhetorical reaction to the use of chemical agents in Ghouta on 21 August 2013, which was formally ascribed by the Obama administration to the Syrian government, prompted the news media to conclude at the end of August that "the US was on the verge of military strikes against the Assad regime". Nevertheless, president Obama eventually opted not to strike, thus failing to live up to his own commitment to enforce the "red line". The decision is widely viewed within the U.S. political establishment as having undermined America’s deterrent capability: "Obama’s about-face on enforcing the red line was a dispiriting moment in which he displayed irresolution and naïveté, and did lasting damage to America’s standing in the world".
During September 2013, it was reported by US officials that under "a covert CIA program," small arms and anti tank weapons had begun reaching some moderate rebel groups. Although Free Syrian Army Commander Salim Idris denied receiving lethal aid, some analysts commented that information on US arms may not have reached Idris due to poor communications as the Free Syrian Army command was based in Northern Syria whilst weapons were reportedly reaching rebel groups in the south.
In December 2013, the U.S. government temporarily suspended the shipments of non-lethal military aid, including food rations, medical kits and pickup trucks after warehouses of equipment were seized by the Islamic Front.
In April 2014, there appeared online videos that showed rebels in Syria using U.S.-made anti-tank rockets (BGM-71 TOW), the first significant American armaments in the country's conflict; analysts suggested they might have been provided by states such as Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, with Washington's acquiescence.
In early October 2015, shortly after the start of the Russian military intervention in Syria, Barack Obama was reported to have authorised the resupply—against ISIL—of 25,000 Syrian Kurds and 5,000 of the armed-Syrian opposition, emphasising that the U.S. would continue this support now that Russia had joined the conflict.
In October 2015, the U.S. announced the end of the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train Syrian rebels in an acknowledgment that the program had failed in achieving its ostensible goals. Instead the funding would be used to provide weapons and ammunition to rebel groups already in place. Other, covert and significantly larger, programs in Syria are run by the CIA and continue.
Jane's Defence Weekly reported a U.S shipment of 994 tonnes of weapons and ammunition (including packaging and container weight) in December 2015 from Eastern Europe to Syrian rebel groups, including 9M17 Fleyta anti-tank missiles, RPG-7s, AK-47S, DShKs, and PKMs. A detailed list of weapon types and shipment weights had been obtained from the US government's Federal Business Opportunities website.
The deployment in late April 2016 to the Rmelan area, controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, of additional 150 American soldiers purportedly for training and intelligence-gathering, prompted the Syrian government′s strong condemnation of what it called a ″blatant act of aggression that constitutes a dangerous intervention and a gross violation of the Syrian sovereignty.″ In mid-August 2016, the Pentagon said the U.S.-led coalition′s F-22 aircraft flew over the area around the city of Al-Hasakah in a "very unusual" move to protect American special operation ground forces from attacks by Syrian government jets.
Since August 2011, Britain insists, along with the U.S. and France and some Arab states, that the Syrian president Bashar Assad must step down.
In June 2012, following unconfirmed reports from an Israeli website that SAS Commandos were conducting covert operations within Syrian territory, operating from Turkey on 26 June 2012, it was reported that the prospect of British special forces entering Syria on the ground was growing.
In 2012 the UK provided opposition forces with non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and medical supplies, and the UK was reported to have provided intelligence support from its Cyprus bases, revealing Syrian military movements to Turkish officials, who then passed on the information to the Free Syrian Army.
On 29 August 2013, a vote was held in the British House of Commons to decide whether the United Kingdom would join the United States in initiating militant action against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government: the Prime Minister David Cameron′s motion was defeated by 285 votes to 272. Although the prime minister does not need parliamentary approval for military action, Cameron said that he would respect this Parliamentary decision and that the UK would not take part in military action in Syria.
Mid November 2015, the UK co-sponsored a French-drafted UN Security Council resolution urging UN members to "take all necessary measures" in the fight against Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. On 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously passed the French-British drafted-sponsored resolution. British Ambassador to the U.N. Matthew Rycroft said the resolution would be used by prime minister David Cameron to address Parliament on his plans to begin airstrikes by the UK in Syria.
On 3 December 2015, after the UK parliament overwhelmingly backed the UK government′s motion to extend the UK military action to Syria, four Tornados from RAF air base in Cyprus carried out their first air strikes against ISIL in Syria targeting the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria, according to defence minister Michael Fallon. France welcomed that UK military action; Syria, noting that the UK had failed to ask permission from Syria's government, insisted Britain and its allies must follow Russia's example and co-ordinate their campaign with Syrian government forces.
In early February 2016, the UK foreign minister Philip Hammond, referring to the Russia′s air campaign in support of the Syrian government, said: "It's a source of constant grief to me that everything we are doing is being undermined by the Russians."
In August 2016, the BBC published photographs taken in June that year that it said showed British special forces soldiers apparently guarding the perimeter of the New Syrian Army's base at al-Tanf (Al Waleed) in Syria's Homs province on the Syria-Iraq border that had been seized by Islamic State militants in May 2015. The troops were shown to be equipped with four-wheel drive Al-Thalab vehicles and a range of weapons which included sniper rifles, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns.
Since August 2011, France insists, along with the U.S. and Britain and some Arab states, that the Syrian president Bashar Assad must step down, France—a former mandatory ruler of Syria—being considered by the Guardian more active and forward than the other Western countries in its policy towards the war in Syria.
In 2012, France provided opposition forces with non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and medical supplies.
In August 2013, when the Assad government was accused of using chemical weapons in the Ghouta area near Damascus, Paris called for military intervention but was isolated after the US president, Barack Obama, refused to act despite the breach of what he had earlier declared was a “red line”.
On 19 September 2013, French President François Hollande during a press conference in Bamako suggested that France was ready to begin supplying lethal aid to the Free Syrian Army in a "controlled framework". End of September 2015, France has begun airstrikes in Syria, on a small scale to avoid inadvertently strengthening the hand of president Bashar Assad by hitting his enemies.
In August 2014 French President François Hollande confirmed that France had delivered arms to Syrian rebels
In mid-November 2015, in the wake of the 13 November Paris terror attacks, France, citing self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, significantly intensified its air strikes in Syria, closely coordinating with the U.S. military.
Also mid November, France drafted a UN Security Council resolution urging UN members to "take all necessary measures" in the fight against Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. The following day the French-drafted resolution was co-sponsored by the UK. On 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously passed the French-British drafted-sponsored resolution. Also on 20 November, France dismissed Russia′s suggestions that the French air strikes against oil installations in Syria were illegal, saying they were "an appropriate and necessary riposte" to attacks by Islamic State.
As on 3 December 2015 the UK had started air strikes against ISIL in Syria, France welcomed that UK military action.
The government of Turkey, a NATO member with the alliance′s second largest army, had had a relatively friendly relationship with Syria over a decade prior to the start of the civil unrest in Syria in 2011; Turkey, while joining calls for the Syrian government to end the violence, initially objected to the demand voiced in August 2011 by the U.S that Bashar Assad resign. Until September 2014, Turkey did not overtly participate in the international airstrikes against ISIS. Turkey trained defectors from the Syrian Army on its territory, and in July 2011 a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence. In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operation.Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has also provided the rebels with arms and other military equipment. Tensions between Syria and Turkey significantly worsened after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter jet in June 2012 and border clashes in October 2012. In early February 2016, Reuters referred to Turkey as ″a major sponsor of the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad″.
Turkey provided refuge for Syrian dissidents from early days of the Syrian conflict. In early June 2011, Syrian opposition activists convened in Istanbul to discuss regime change, and Turkey hosted the head of the Free Syrian Army, Colonel Riad al-Asaad. Turkey became increasingly hostile to the Assad government's policies and came to encourage reconciliation among dissident factions. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tried to "cultivate a favorable relationship with whatever government would take the place of Assad."
Since May 2012, some Syrian opposition fighters began to receive arms and training from the Turkish Intelligence. The Islamic Front and Ahrar ash-Sham in particular have received weapons from Turkey according to German intelligence.
Turkey maintained a small enclave within Syria itself, the Tomb of Suleyman Shah on the right bank of the Euphrates in Aleppo Province near the village of Qarah Qawzak (Karakozak). The Tomb is guarded by a small permanent garrison of Turkish soldiers, who rotate in from a battalion based at the Turkish border some 25 kilometres (16 mi) away—even as the civil war unfolded around them. Up until Syrian forces shot down a Turkish warplane in June 2012, the garrison numbered 15 men in total. Following the incident, the Turkish government doubled the number of soldiers stationed at the tomb to 30, while Prime Minister Erdoğan warned that "the tomb of Suleyman Shah and the land that surrounds it are Turkish territory. Any act of aggression against it would be an attack on our territory and NATO territory." In February 2015, the army launched a raid into Syria in order to move the tomb closer to the border.
Turkey had repeatedly said it wanted the U.S. to focus its air strikes in Syria as much on removing Assad as on fighting the ISIL; it had also demanded a "safe zone" in the area extending from the Syrian town of Kobanî on the Turkish border, westward to the town of Azaz, that would be protected by air power and that was purported to enable Turkey to transfer back to Syria some of an estimated 1.8 million displaced people camped on Turkish territory.
On 22 July 2015, Turkey agreed to let the U.S. use the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey to launch air attacks against the ISIL, a deal that was seen as a major shift in policy on the part of the once-reluctant American ally (in March 2003, the Turkish parliament voted against allowing Turkey to be a base of operations for the U.S. invasion of Iraq).
At the end of July 2015, American and Turkish media outlets reported that the U.S. government and Turkey had agreed on the outlines of a de facto "safe zone" along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that was purported to increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air missions against the ISIL in northern Syria; the plan provided for driving ISIL, the al-Nusra Front, and other radical groups out of a 68-mile-long area west of the Euphrates River and reaching into the province of Aleppo that would then come under the control of the Syrian opposition. The operational status of the envisioned area was to stop short of meeting Turkish demands for a full-scale, declared no-fly zone. In August 2015, the U.S. announced it would withdraw two Patriot missile-defense batteries from southern Turkey in the autumn that year; also withdrawn were the German Patriots stationed in Turkey, amidst concerns in the NATO military establishment that Turkey was intent on dragging NATO into the Syrian conflict in pursuit of its own parochial interests.
In late July 2015, Turkey resumed fighting against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern parts of Turkey. On 29 June 2015, Turkey′s National Security Council made a decision and released a statement that said that Turkey would consider any incursion west of the Euphrates in northern Syria along the Turkish border (the area between Jarablus in the east and the Azaz–Mare' region in the west) by Kurdish YPG militia, backed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as well as any attack north of Idlib by Syrian government forces to be a violation of the “red line.” (The PYD is deemed by Turkey to be the Syrian affiliate of PKK, but it is actively aided by the U.S.) At the end of October 2015, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu claimed that Turkey had struck Kurdish militia fighters in Syria twice for the alleged breach of the "red line"; the YPG′s statements said that the Turkish army had twice attacked its positions near the border towns of Tell Abyad and Kobanî. In mid-November 2015, president Recep Erdoğan reaffirmed this threat not to allow Syrian Kurds to cross over to the western side of the Euphrates along the Turkish border.
On 24 November 2015, speaking shortly after the shootdown of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey, Russian president Vladimir Putin characterised the role played by Turkey in the Syrian conflict as that of "the accomplices of terrorists." Russia′s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov noted that the Turkish plan to create a buffer zone in the area where Syrian Turkmen lived in northern Syria stemmed from Ankara's wish to protect local terrorist infrastructure: "According to the latest information, the area which our Turkish colleagues deem to be populated by Syrian Turkmen not only accommodates several hundreds, or thousands, of militants - citizens of the Russian Federation, as the [Russian] president said yesterday, who present a direct threat to our security, security of our people but also, according to the available information, that area accommodates infrastructures of the militants, including arms and ammo depots, command centers, and logistics centers." 
In late November 2015, following Russian President Putin directly accusing Turkey of aiding ISIL and al-Qaeda, Turkey came under pressure from the U.S. to close the remaining crossing point for ISIL militants on a 60-mile stretch of the border with Syria where ISIL had control of the Syrian side. The crossing had been used to export crude oil originating from ISIL-controlled oilfields, and for arms smuggling.
On 2 December 2015, Russia′s military officials presented what they referred to as "only part of the available facts" that proved that Turkey′s president Recep Erdogan and his family are personally involved in a multimillion-dollar oil smuggling operation that funds ISIL terrorists (similar claims had earlier been voiced by the U.S. officials). The accusations were seen as further drastic escalation of tensions between Turkey and Russia that has its military personnel and advanced weapons openly deployed in Syria.
In late December 2015, in an interview for Al Arabiya Turkey′s president Recep Erdogan said, "Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia have formed a quartet alliance in Baghdad and asked Turkey to join, but I told President [Vladimir] Putin that I cannot sit alongside a president whose legitimacy is distrustful."
After Syria′s Kurdish militia (YPG) captured Syria′s Menagh Airbase and several settlements north of Aleppo near the border with Turkey, Turkey on 13 February 2016 began a sustained campaign of shelling the YPG positions in the area of Azaz from its territory. In response to this action qualified by Syria as a violation of its sovereignty as well as the alleged infiltration into Syria of "Turkish soldiers or Turkish mercenaries", the Syrian government requested that the UN Security Council take action. The attempt by Russia on 19 February 2016 to have an appropriate resolution adopted by the UN Security Council was undermined by Western powers, including the U.S., the UK, and France.
On 24 February 2015, president Erdogan speaking on television of the tentative plan for a cessation of hostilities in Syria announced by Russia and the U.S. two days prior, accused the UN, the West, Russia and Iran of seeking to further their own interests in Syria and said he feared a U.S.-Russian ceasefire plan would do little more than benefit Syria′s president Bashar Assad.
Several days after the truce came into effect, in early March 2016, the Russian military officials and news media produced evidence that suggested that Turkey was shipping regular supplies across its border with Syria to anti-government forces, including the al-Nusra Front, designated as terrorist by the UN.
In May 2016, in a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Russia stated that the analysis of chemical components of explosives recovered from the ISIL in areas of Iraq's Tikrit and the Syrian city of Kobani implicated Turkish companies and "indicated that they were either manufactured in Turkey or delivered to that country without the right of re-export."
Sunni Arab states are concerned that the Iranian arms transfers are changing the balance of power in the region and has "become a regional contest for primacy in Syria between Sunni Arabs and the Iran-backed Assad government and Hezbollah of Lebanon." Iran is using the Maharaj Airlines to ship weapons to Syrian government.
On 6 March 2013, the Arab League gave its members the "green light" to arm the Syrian rebels. On 26 March 2013, at the Arab league summit in Doha, the League recognised the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.
The Financial Times reported that Qatar had funded the Syrian rebellion by "as much as $3 billion" over the first two years of the civil war. It reported that Qatar was offering refugee packages of about $50,000 a year to defectors and family.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated that Qatar had sent the most weapons to Syria, with over 70 weapons cargo flights into Turkey between April 2012 and March 2013.
From at least the 2014 June Offensive in Iraq, ISIL Leadership has been threatening to overthrow the monarchy of Jordan and to invade Jordan once it takes Baghdad. The Jordanian Air Force joined in the US-led bombing of ISIL in Syria. Jihadist troops have retaliated by firing into Jordan and there has been increased sniping at the border.
On 24 December 2014, a Jordanian fighter jet was shot down over Syria and its pilot, Jordanian air force lieutenant Muath Al-Kasasbeh, captured. This pilot was executed by burning in January 2015 and was later used to attempt to recover jailed terrorists. Jordan offered to make the exchange, but demanded "proof of life" first, this wasn't done, and the video of the pilot's execution was released. In response, the terrorists, Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli, were executed and Jordan took the lead on anti-ISIL bombing raids, claiming nearly a thousand KOI in a week.
From time to time during the first half of 2015 and into the summer, there have been reports of plans for an invasion of Syria in order to set up a buffer zone within that country and away from its own border.
The Financial Times reported in May 2013 that Saudi Arabia was becoming a larger provider of arms to the rebels. Since the summer of 2013, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the main group to finance and arm the rebels. Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons, such as Yugoslav-made recoilless guns and the M79 Osa, an anti-tank weapon, from Croatia via shipments shuttled through Jordan. The weapons began reaching rebels in December 2012 which allowed rebels' small tactical gains this winter against the army and militias loyal to Assad. This was to counter shipments of weapons from Iran to Assad's forces.
Bashar al-Assad pointed at Saudi Arabia as the major supporter of terrorists and "leading the most extensive operation of direct sabotage against all the Arab world".
In May 2015, The Independent reported that Saudi Arabia and Turkey were "focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest". The Army of Conquest reportedly includes an Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, which had been declared a terrorist organisation by the United States.
In October 2015, Saudi Arabia delivered 500 U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles to anti-Assad rebels. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the weapons would "certainly fall into the hands of terrorist organizations".
In mid-December 2015, in the wake of the two rounds of the Vienna talks, Saudi Arabia hosted a conference of Syria's political and armed opposition factions that was intended to come to an agreement on a common position from which to negotiate with the government of Bashar al-Assad. The meeting, that did not include the major Kurdish factions in Syria, produced a statement of principles to guide peace talks with the government; it said inter alia that president Assad would be allowed to stay until a transitional government was formed. The meeting decided to set up a "Higher Negotiations Authority" to direct the opposition's participation in the proposed talks with the regime early in 2016; that leadership body is to remain based in Riyadh, giving the Saudis a ready handle on it. Shortly afterwards, the Saudis announced the formation of a military alliance of Muslim countries to fight international terrorism; about 30 Muslim states (all of them Sunni-majority nations) were reported to join the alliance, including Egypt and Turkey. The coalition was seen by Russia and Iran as aimed at reinforcing Saudi Arabia′s leadership and countering their efforts in the region, yet meaningless in practical terms.
In early February 2016, a Saudi military official announced, ″The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Isis) may agree to carry out in Syria.″ Saudi sources elaborated that the putative deployment of Saudi special forces could be carried out in coordination with Turkey.
In December 2012, a new wave of weapons from foreign supporters were transferred to rebel forces via the Jordanian border in the country's south. The arms included M79 Osa anti-tank weapons and M-60 recoilless rifles purchased by Saudi Arabia from Croatia. Previously, most of the weapons were delivered via the Turkish border in the north. However, much of the arms unintentionally ended up in the hands of Islamist rebels. The goal for the change in routes was to strengthen moderate rebels and to bring the war closer to Damascus.
According to Jutarnji list, a Croatian daily newspaper, there were an unusually high number of sightings of Ilyushin 76 aircraft owned by Jordan International Air Cargo at Pleso Airport in Zagreb, Croatia on 14 and 23 December 2012; 6 January; and 18 February 2013. In early January 2013, Yugoslav weapons were seen used in battles in the Dara'a region near Jordan. Then, in February 2013, Yugoslav weapons were seen in videos posted by rebels fighting in the Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo regions. Danijela Barišić of Croatia's Foreign Ministry and arms-export agency denied that such shipments had occurred. Saudi officials have declined requests for interviews about the shipments for two weeks. Ukrainian-made rifle cartridges, Swiss-made hand grenades, Belgian-made rifles are showing up in the rebels hands but the origin is not clear because Saudi Arabia has insisted on secrecy.
Bandar bin Sultan
In August 2013 the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan had been appointed to lead Saudi Arabia's efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and that the US Central Intelligence Agency considered this a sign of how serious Saudi Arabia was about this aim. Bandar was described as "jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime." After tensions with Qatar over supplying rebel groups, Saudi Arabia switched its efforts from Turkey to Jordan in 2012, using its financial leverage over Jordan to develop training facilities there, overseen by Bandar's half-brother Salman bin Sultan. In late 2012 Saudi intelligence also began efforts to convince the US that the Assad government was using chemical weapons. The Saudi government also would be sending prisoners sentenced to death to fight in Syria.
Swiss weapon sales controversies
In July 2012, Switzerland ceased arms exports to the UAE after it emerged Swiss weapons were finding their way to opposition fighters. The Swiss decision came shortly after the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, called for an urgent stop to arms transfers to government and opposition forces so as to avoid "further militarisation" of the conflict. The director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy had previously argued that, while "uncontrolled militarization will turn the Syrian uprising into a wider conflict that could draw in jihadis and other extremists from across the Muslim World", militarisation was inevitable, and so the US should help facilitate and guide it. Marc Lynch argued the opposite in February 2012, as the provision of weapons from Saudi Arabia and Qatar was being mooted: "It is unlikely that arms from the outside would come close to evening the balance of power, and would only invite escalations from Syrian regime forces".
Support from non-state groups
The Free Iraqi Army, created to emulate the FSA, soldiers and supplies crossed from Anbar Province into Syria. Sunni armed groups inside in the western Sunni-majority provinces of Iraq formed the Free Iraqi Army and have been supportive of the Syrian uprising against the Syrian government.
Individual foreign support for rebels
There have been a number of foreign fighters that had joined the Syrian Civil War in opposition to Assad. While some are jihadists, others, such as Mahdi al-Harati, joined to help the Syrian rebels. Some fighters came from as far away as Chechnya and Tajikistan.
Several groups, such as the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade, al-Nusra Front and Fatah al-Islam have stated that they conducted operations in Syria. Jihadist leaders and intelligence sources said foreign fighters had begun to enter Syria only in February 2012. In May 2012, Syria's U.N. envoy Bashar Ja'afari declared that dozens of foreign fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Britain, France and elsewhere had been captured or killed, and urged Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to stop "their sponsorship of the armed rebellion". In June, it was reported that hundreds of foreign fighters, many linked to al-Qaeda, had gone to Syria to fight against Assad. In July, Iraq's foreign minister again warned that members of al-Qaeda in Iraq were seeking refuge in Syria and moving there to fight. When asked if the United States would arm the opposition, Hillary Clinton expressed fears that such weapons could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda or Hamas. In October 2012, the United States expressed concern and confirmed that most of the weapons fall into the hands of radical Islamist rebels.
Support to the Syrian Kurds
After the start of the Russian military operation in Syria in the autumn 2015, Russia and the U.S. were said to be in competition to attract the dominant Syrian Kurds′ Democratic Union Party (PYD). Senior Russian officials were reported to have had meetings with the Syrian Kurdish leadership, including Salih Muslim Muhammad.
In April 2016 a France 24 documentary reported the presence of French, British, and US special forces cooperating with the Syrian Democratic Forces to coordinate airstrikes against ISIL during the al-Shaddadi offensive (2016) in February.
In late April 2016, the U.S. announced imminent deployment to Syria of additional 250 U.S. troops to provide training to the Syrian Arab Coalition. Shortly thereafter, 150 of these troops were reported to have arrived in Rmelan, al-Hasakah Governorate, in an area controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Until 2015, the Turkish government had maintained a border regime that was referred to by commentators and Turkish journalists as the "Jihadist Highway" where militants including potential ISIL fighters and other radical groups could come and go freely.
In July 2015, a raid by US special forces on a compound housing the Islamic State's "chief financial officer", Abu Sayyaf, produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking IS members.
Support for Turkey
- Dutch involvement in the Syrian Civil War
- List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War
- Spillover of the Syrian Civil War
- Syrian Civil War peace process
- Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict
- FROM THE BOTTOM, UP: A Strategy for U.S. Military Suport to Syria’s Armed Opposition Study (CNAS, Jamestown Foundation), April 2016
- "U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia". The New York Times. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "John McCain says US is engaged in proxy war with Russia in Syria". The Guardian. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "U.S., Russia escalate involvement in Syria". CNN. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- ""The Russians have made a serious mistake": how Putin's Syria gambit will backfire". Vox (website). 1 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- In Syrië dreigt nu een proxy-oorlog: Rusland vs Amerika VS leveren extra wapens aan rebellen die vechten tegen Assad, lees: Moskou. Terug naar jaren 80 in Afghanistan. NRC Handelsblad, 14 October 2015 ("In Syria, a proxy-war now is looming").
- U.S. vs. Russia: What a war would look like between the world′s most fearsome militaries Militarytimes.com, 5 October 2015.
- "Saudi Arabia and Iran must end their proxy war in Syria". The Guardian. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "Turkey condemns attack on Syrian Turkmen village, summons Russian envoy". Hürriyet Daily News. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- "French direct aid a dubious break for Syria rebels". London. The Guardian. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Syria's crisis: Bashar bashed - After months of slow progress, Bashar Assad's opponents have the upper hand". The Economist. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention". The Guardian, 23 December 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Obama 'red line' erased as Bashar Assad's chemical weapons use goes unchecked by U.S. military". The Washington Times. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Russia denies arming Syria". The Irish Times. Irish Times. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- "Exclusive: Russia steps up military lifeline to Syria's Assad - sources". Reuters. 17 January 2014.
- "Интерфакс-Религия: Решение России использовать ВВС в Сирии соответствует особой роли РФ на Ближнем Востоке, заявляют в Церкви". interfax-religion.ru. (Russian)
- "- قتل السوريين "معركة مقدّسة" في نظر الكنيسة الأرثوذكسية الروسية أورينت نت". orient-news.net.
- Payne, Ed (30 September 2015). "Russia conducts first airstrike in Syria". CNN. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "شاهد:أول فيديو عن أول قصف جوي روسي في سوريا" [Witness: The first video for the first Russian air strike in Syria]. al-marsd.com. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. (Arabic)
- "Russia launches media offensive on Syria bombing". BBC News. 1 October 2015.
- "Gulf allies and 'Army of Conquest". Al-Ahram Weekly. 28 May 2015.
- Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). "Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent.
- "Who is Russia bombing in Syria? The militant groups determined to fight to the death". The Independent. 1 October 2015.
- "As Russia escalates, U.S. rules out military cooperation in Syria". Reuters. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- U.S., Russia sign memo to avoid clashes in air over Syria Reuters, 20 October 2015.
- US and Russia sign deal to avoid Syria air incidents
- "ВКС РФ за два месяца добились большего прогресса в Сирии, чем альянс США за год" [Russian air force have in two months achieved more progress in Syria that the U.S. alliance in a year]. Kommersant. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. (Russian)
- "Obama urges steps to avoid 'escalation' after Russian jet is downed by Turkey". The Washington Post. 24 November 2015.
- "Remarks by President Obama and President Hollande of France in Joint Press Conference". The White House. 24 November 2015.
- "U.S. sees bearable costs, key goals met for Russia in Syria so far". Reuters. 28 December 2015.
- "Syria's crisis: The long road to Damascus: There are signs that the Syrian regime may become still more violent", The Economist, 11 February 2012.
- "Russia Looks for an Exit in Syria". Stratfor. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- "How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria". Inside Iran. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- Holliday, Joseph (March 2012). "Syria's Armed Opposition" (PDF). Middle East Security Report 3. Institute for the Study of War: 25. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Schmitt, Eric (21 June 2012). "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Charbonneau, Louis (16 May 2012). "Exclusive: Iran flouts U.N. sanctions, sends arms to Syria: panel". Reuters. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Exclusive: Iran to match stance with Russia in push for Syria deal". Reuters. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- Navon, Emmanuel. "Syria uprising stirs old divisions in neighboring Lebanon". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "Hezbollah has no role at Syria's crackdown on protesters". Dp-news.com. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "US adds Hezbollah to Syria sanctions list". Al Jazeera. 10 August 2012.
- "Drone flight over Israel: Nasrallah's latest surprise". arabamericannews.com.
- Hirst, David (23 October 2012). "Hezbollah uses its military power in a contradictory manner". The Daily Star. Beirut.
- "WikiLeaks: U.S. secretly backed Syria opposition". CBS News.
- Wright, Nate; Hider, James (17 February 2012). "Syrian regime 'importing snipers' for protests". The Australian. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Hezbollah fighters, Syrian rebels killed in border fighting". Al Arabiya, 17 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "BBC News - Hezbollah military commander 'killed in Syria'". Bbc.co.uk. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "U.S. blacklists al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria". CNN. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
-  The American-Israeli security relationship: Let’s try a less awkward embrace
- Barnard, Anne; Rudoren, Jodi (31 January 2013). "Syria Says It Has Right to Counterattack Israel". New York Times.
- "Israel on global alert after killing Iran's fox". 24 February 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "Hezbollah condemned for 'attack on Syrian villages'". BBC News, 18 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Baalbek figures urge Hezbollah to stop fighting in Syria". The Daily Star, 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Syrian rebels claim successful attack on Hezbollah". The Times of Israel, 26 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "March 14, PSP slam Hezbollah activities in Syria". The Daily Star, 19 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Hezbollah fighters dying in Syria will go to hell, Tufaili". Ya Libnan, 26 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Rival Lebanese groups fighting in Syria: Jumblatt". The Daily Star, 24 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "'Israel rockets' hit Jamraya facility in Damascus". BBC News. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- ANNE BARNARD, MICHAEL R. GORDON and JODI RUDOREN (4 May 2013). "Israel Targeted Iranian Missiles in Syria Attack". New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- Damien McElroy and agencies (5 May 2013). "Israel confirms overnight airstrikes against Damascus". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- "'No winds of war' despite Damascus air strikes". Jerusalem Post. 7 May 2013.
- "Report: Israel behind recent strike on Syria missile depot, U.S. officials say". Haaretz. 12 July 2013.
- "RT source: Israeli strike on Syria was carried out from Turkish base".
- Israeli air strikes: A warning to Syria's Assad. BBC, 1 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi. "Syrian Rebel Document Confirms Iranian-Hizbullah Military Presence in Syrian Golan Heights". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). Jerusalem.
- Marianna Parraga; Emma Farge (21 February 2012). "Exclusive: Venezuela ships fuel to war-torn Syria: traders". Reuters. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Marianna Parraga (6 March 2012). "Venezuela to ship more fuel to Syria as crackdown spreads". Reuters. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Solomon, Jay; Johnson, Keith (9 July 2012). "To Power Syria, Chávez Sends Diesel". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Chavez slams West, expresses support for Syria". Press TV. 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
- "Chavez supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad". TeleSUR. 5 April 2012.
- al-Salhy, Suadad (21 September 2012). "Iraq blocks Syria-bound North Korean plane, suspects weapons cargo". Reuters. Baghdad. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- Charbonneau, Louis; Michelle Nichols (17 May 2012). "Exclusive: U.N. probes possible North Korea arms trade with Syria, Myanmar". Reuters. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "North Korea violating sanctions, according to UN report". The Telegraph. London. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- Charbonneau, Louis; Nichols, Michelle (17 May 2012). "Exclusive: U.N. probes possible North Korea arms trade with Syria, Myanmar". Reuters. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Chinese Freighter Caught with N.Korean Missile Parts". Chosun Ilbo. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Fawcett, Harry (14 November 2012). "N Korea suspected of Syria arms shipment". Seoul: Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- "N.Korean Officers 'Helping Syrian Gov't Forces'". The Chosun Ilbo. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- "Behind The Lines: Assad's North Korean connection". The Jerusalem Post. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "North Korea troops fighting in Syrian civil war, delegate says". UPI. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- "After the Arab Spring: Algeria's standing in a new world".
- Warrick, Joby (8 October 2011). "Iraq, siding with Iran, sends essential aid to Syria's Assad". Washington Post.
- Salem, Paul (29 November 2012). "INSIGHT: Iraq's Tensions Heightened by Syria Conflict". Middle East Voices -VOA. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Gordon, Michael R. (4 September 2012). "Iran Supplying Syrian Military via Iraqi Airspace". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Lebanon: Reveal Fate of Disappeared Syrians". HRW. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Jessica Donati; Emma Farge (12 March 2012). "The firm that keeps heating fuel flowing to Assad's Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Squires, Nick (5 July 2012). "WikiLeaks begins publishing tranche of Syria emails". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- MacKenzie, James (9 July 2012). "Finmeccanica confirms disposal plans". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "UK delivered Syria chemicals needed for sarin production 'for 6 years'".
- "Assad must go, Obama says". The Washington Post. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "How the U.S. message on Assad shifted". The Washington Post. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- President Obama: "The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way." The White House website, 18 August 2011.
- Executive Order 13582-- Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria The White House website, 18 August 2011.
- U.S. Considers Resuming Nonlethal Aid to Syrian Opposition, By MARK LANDLER, 9, January 2014
- "U.S. Bolsters Ties to Fighters in Syria". The Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "US Authorizes Financial Support For the Free Syrian Army". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Obama Nixed CIA Plan That Could Have Stopped ISIS: Officials". NBC. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Borger, Julian; Hopkins, Nick (8 March 2013). "West training Syrian rebels in Jordan". The Guardian. London.
- "The military options: The Tomahawks fly - A Western attack will not want for firepower or targets—but it will need to be finely judged if it is to work". The Economist. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- DeYoung, Karen (20 April 2013). "U.S. pledges to double nonlethal aid to Syrian rebels as opposition backers reach consensus". Washington Post.
- Madhani, Aamer; Michaels, Jim (13 June 2013). "Source: Obama approves arming Syrian rebels". USA Today. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Free Syrian Army" (PDF). ISW. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- Richter, Paul; Parsons, Christi (13 June 2013). "U.S. says Syria used chemical weapons, will send arms to rebels". Los Angeles Times.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Gordon, Michael R. (13 June 2013). "U.S. Is Said to Plan to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels". New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- Barbara Starr; Jessica Yellin; Chelsea J. Carter (14 June 2013). "White House: Syria crosses 'red line' with use of chemical weapons on its people". CNN. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "U.S. considers no-fly zone after Syria crosses nerve gas 'red line'". Reuters. 14 June 2013.
- "US set for Syria strikes after Kerry says evidence of chemical attack is 'clear'". The Guardian. 31 August 2013.
- "The Obama Doctrine". The Atlantic. April 2016.
- "As Talks Continue, CIA Gets Some Weapons To Syrian Rebels". NPR.org. 13 September 2013.
- "Rebel videos show first U.S.-made rockets in Syria". Reuters. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Down but not yet out, The Economist.
- "Obama authorizes resupply of Syrian opposition". CNN. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- "Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels". The New York Times. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "US axes $500m scheme to train Syrian rebels, says NYT". The Guardian. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut". The Washington Post. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Jeremy Binnie, Neil Gibson (8 April 2016). "US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed". Jane's Defence Weekly. IHS. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
- "U.S. shipped 3,000+ tonnes of weapons from Bulgaria to Syria FSA rebels since Nov". Live UA Map. 8 April 2016.
- Syria stresses entry of 150 US troops into its territory is illegitimate and totally rejected
- Damascus concerned at reports of U.S. troops arrival Reuters, 28 April 2016.
- Coalition jets scrambled to defend U.S. forces from Syrian bombing
- "France more active than rest of the west in tackling Syria". The Guardian. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Epps, Peter (27 June 2012). "Analysis: Syria's Assad faces growing rebel, foreign threat". Reuters UK. Reuters. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Syria conflict: UK to give extra £5m to opposition groups". BBC News. BBC. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Syria Rebels 'Aided By British Intelligence'". Sky News. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Syria crisis: Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action". BBC. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Cameron hails UN backing for action against Islamic State". BBC. 21 November 2015.
- Security Council ‘Unequivocally’ Condemns ISIL Terrorist Attacks, Unanimously Adopting Text that Determines Extremist Group Poses ‘Unprecedented’ Threat
- "U.N. Security Council Unanimously Votes to Adopt France's Counterterrorism Resolution". The Wall Street Journal. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "Parliament votes to bomb Islamic State in Syria". Reuters. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- "Syria air strikes: RAF Tornado jets carry out bombing". BBC. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- Guy Faulconbridge (2 February 2016). "Putin is fanning Syrian civil war, Hammond says". Reuters. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
- Sommerville, Quentin (8 August 2016). "UK special forces pictured on the ground in Syria". BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- "Islamic State 'seizes key Syria-Iraq border crossing'". BBC. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- "France gives non-lethal military aid to Syrian opposition: PM". Al Arabiya. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "France could act on Syria without Britain, says François Hollande". The Guardian. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Middle east - France's Hollande hints at arming Syrian rebels". France 24.
- "France launches air strikes against Islamic State in Syria". Reuters. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "France delivered arms to Syrian rebels".
- French airstrikes in Syria 'self defence'
- "French jets bomb ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria; few may have been killed". CNN. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "France Strikes ISIS Targets in Syria in Retaliation for Attacks". The New York Times. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "France hits back at Russia over Syria bombing campaign". Reuters. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- Jordan, Turkey join calls for Syria to end the violence
- Turkey to Vote on Syria Policy
- Manna, Haytham (22 June 2012). "Syria's opposition has been led astray by violence". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Mackey, Robert. "Syria News". New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Backed By Russian Jets, Syrian Army Closes In On Aleppo". Reuters. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- "Syrian dissidents convene in Turkey to discuss regime change". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- Karam, Zeina (5 October 2011). "Syrian dissident colonel takes refuge in Turkey". The Guardian. Beirut. Associated Press. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- Epatko, Larisa (15 November 2012). "Syria and Turkey: A Complex Relationship". PBS NEWSHOUR. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Weiss, Michael (22 May 2012). "Syrian rebels say Turkey is arming and training them". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Gab die Linke der PKK geheime Regierungsdokumente?". Die Welt. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. (German)
- AP (2 May 2012). "Turkish soldiers still guard sacred tomb in Syria". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Turkey agrees to allow U.S. military to use its base to attack Islamic State". The Washington Post. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "Turkish parliament rejects US troops". The Telegraph. 1 March 2003. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto 'safe zone' in northwest Syria". The Washington Post. 26 July 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "Partial no-fly zone included in US-Turkey consensus: Turkish sources". Hurriyet Daily News. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "After Delicate Negotiations, U.S. Says It Will Pull Patriot Missiles From Turkey". The New York Times. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- German army to withdraw Patriot missiles from Turkey border
- German General: NATO Article 5 won’t apply to Turkey’s buffer zone in Syria Asia Times, 14 November 2015.
- "Turkey says west of Euphrates 'red line' in northern Syria". Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- "Turkey struck Kurdish militia in Syria twice: PM Davutoglu". Reuters. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- Turkey’s Kurdish obsession overshadows war against ISIL Today's Zaman, 16 November 2015.
- "Russia's Putin calls Turkey's downing of Russian jet 'stab in the back'". Reuters. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Turkey downing of Russia jet 'stab in the back' - Putin". BBC. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Turkish proposal to create buffer zone in northern Syria may try to protect terrorist infrastructures – Lavrov Interfax, 25 November 2015.
- Лавров: Анкара хочет создать буферную зону в Сирии, чтобы обеспечить безопасность террористов
- Patrick Cockburn (30 November 2015). "War with Isis: President Obama demands that Turkey close stretch of border with Syria". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Выступление заместителя Министра обороны Российской Федерации Анатолия Антонова в ходе брифинга для СМИ «Вооруженные Силы Российской Федерации в борьбе с международным терроризмом. Новые данные»
- Roland Oliphant (2 December 2015). "Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Russia presents proof of Turkey's role in ISIS oil trade". RT. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Russia Claims to Have Proof Turkey Involved in IS Oil Trade". VOA News. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Remarks of Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen at The Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, “Attacking ISIL’s Financial Foundation” The U.S. Treasury website, 23 October 2014.
- "Erdogan warns against Mideast sectarian divisions". Al Arabiya. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Turkish PM confirms shelling of Kurdish forces in Syria
- Staff writer(s) (14 February 2016). "Turkey shells northern Syria for second day: monitor". Reuters. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- "Turkey shells Kurdish positions in Syria for second day". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "Syria calls for UN action on Turkish attacks on Kurds". BBC. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Михаил Коростиков (20 December 2015). "Совбез ООН отклонил резолюцию России по Сирии". Kommersant. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "Russia disappointed by rejection of anti-Turkish resolution at UN". Todayszaman. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "Turkey's Erdogan says Syria ceasefire could benefit Assad". Reuters. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Turkey 'protects & supplies' Al-Nusra camps at its border – Syria's YPG to RT". RT. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- "Минобороны РФ: из Турции в Сирию к террористам идут фуры с оружием". RIA Novosti. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- Russian UN envoy Churkin names Turkish companies helping ISIS make bombs RT, 26 May 2016.
- Chivers, C. J.; Schmitt, Eric (26 February 2013). "In Shift, Saudis Are Said to Arm Rebels in Syria". New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Arab league allows members to arm rebels and offers seat to opposition". Al Bawaba. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Arab League summit opens in Doha with focus on Syrian crisis - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding Smith (16 May 2013). "Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013. (subscription required)
- Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding-Smith (17 May 2013). "How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2013. (subscription required)
- Frank Gardner (13 November 2014). The Missing Students. From Our Own Correspondent. BBC Radio 4. Event occurs at 11:41. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Syrian Rebels Describe U.S.-Backed Training in Qatar". FRONTLINE. Public Broadcasting Service. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Jordan confirms its planes joined strikes on IS in Syria". Jordan Times.
- "Jordan troops clash with militants on Syria border". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Michaels, Jim; Bacon, John (3 February 2015). "Jordan executes two in response to pilot's slaying". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- Saudi edges Qatar to control Syrian rebel support retrieved 6 June 2013
- "Assad: Our Battle With Saudi Is Open-Ended". 30 November 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive'". The Daily Telegraph. 2 October 2015.
- "Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime". Business Insider. 10 October 2015.
- "Syrian army source: rebels make heavy use of TOW missiles". Reuters. 25 November 2015.
- "Syrian opposition seeks unified front at Riyadh conference". BBC. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- "Syria conflict: Opposition agrees framework for peace talks". BBC. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Muir, Jim (10 December 2015). "Syria conflict: Can Saudi pressure secure peace?". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- What do Russia and Iran think about Saudi Arabia’s coalition initiative?
- Senior Russian lawmaker blasts Saudi-led anti-terror coalition as ‘unviable’
- Black, Ian (4 February 2016). "Saudi Arabia offers to send ground troops to Syria to fight Isis". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- Sly, Liz; DeYoung, Karen (23 February 2013). "In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad". Washington Post.
- Chivers, C. J.; Schmitt, Eric (25 February 2013). "Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms". The New York Times.
- ADAM ENTOUS, NOUR MALAS and MARGARET COKER, Wall Street Journal, 25 August 2013, A Veteran Saudi Power Player Works To Build Support to Topple Assad
- Cooke, Shamus (21 January 2013). "Report: Saudis sent death-row inmates to fight Syria". USA tODAY. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Switzerland halts arms exports to U.A.E., as report says Swiss arms used by Syria rebels". Haaretz. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "UN rights chief Navi Pillay plea on Syria weapons". BBC News. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- Cofman Wittes, Tamara (19 April 2012). "Options for U.S. Policy in Syria". Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Brookings Institution. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Lynch, Marc (21 February 2012). "Helping Syria Without War". Abu Aardvark's Middle East Blog. FP.com. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Williams, Lauren (10 November 2012). "Free Iraqi Army inspired by Syria war". The Daliy Star. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- Ruhayem, Rami (21 November 2012). "Iraqis locked in rival sectarian narratives". BBC News. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- Kennedy, Elizabeth A. (12 February 2012). "Al Qaeda urges Muslims to help Syria rebels". AP. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- Kennedy, Elizabeth A. (12 February 2012). "Ayman al-Zawahri, Al-Qaeda Chief, Urges Muslims To Help Syrian Rebels". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- MacFarquhar, Neil; Saad, Hwaida (29 July 2012). "As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role". Time. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (23 September 2012). "Syria: the foreign fighters joining the war against Bashar al-Assad". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Lebanon's Most Wanted Sunni Terrorist Blows Himself Up in Syria". Yalibnan. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Macleod, Hugh; Flamand, Annasofie (13 May 2012). "Iraq-style chaos looms as foreign jihadists pour into Syria". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Yacoub, Khaled (9 May 2012). "Syria rebels kill 7, bomb explodes near U.N. monitors". Reuters. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Jaber, Hala (17 June 2012). "Jihadists pour into Syrian slaughter". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Peel, Michael; Fielding-Smith, Abigail (5 July 2012). "Iraq warns over al-Qaeda flux to Syria". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Andrews, Wyatt (26 February 2012). "Hillary Clinton: Assad regime dishonors Syria". CBS. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Sanger, David E. (14 October 2012). "Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- PYD uses US, Russian support to promote its agenda 3 November 2015.
- "Russian support for PKK's Syrian arm PYD". Anadolu Agency. 27 November 2015.
- Russia hits back at Turkey by changing Syria ′game′
- "EXCLUSIVE: Interethnic coalition takes on the IS group in Syria". France 24 (Youtube). 22 April 2016.
- "Syria conflict: Obama to deploy 250 more special forces troops". BBC. 25 April 2016.
- "150 US Troops Arrive in Rojava: Source". Bas News. 27 April 2016.
- Cockburn, Patrick (24 August 2014). "An obvious first step — close the jihadis′ highway". The Independent.
- All It Takes To Cross From Turkey To ISIS-Held Syria Is $25
- Bertrand, Natasha (28 July 2015). "Senior Western official: Links between Turkey and ISIS are now 'undeniable'". Yahoo News.
-  Russian jets strike Daesh targets in Syria's al-Bab for first time
-  Turkish military says Russian aircraft carried out air strikes in Syria's al-Bab area
-  Turkey, Russia continue joint airstrikes against ISIL near al-Bab
- Leith Fadel (24 August 2016). "US to provide air cover for Turkish, Syrian forces in Jarabulus". al-Masdar News.