The Syrian conflict began five years ago on March 15, 2011, after popular uprisings that toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and turned into a full-blown civil war, leaving more than 250,000 dead and forcing some 9 million people from their homes. A new U.S.-Russian agreement to end the violence, includes a cease-fire on September 12, 2016, followed by a military partnership targeting ISIS and al-Qaeda militants as well as limits on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. The latest hope for peace, has largely held, but the cease-fire has been repeatedly violated by both sides. A senior Syrian opposition figure called the cease-fire “clinically dead” as a human rights group registered 92 people killed since its start.
A previous cease-fire, which began February 27, 2016, was considered the only hope at that time after years of destruction and bloodshed. That cease-fire fell apart April 28, 2016, after a series of airstrikes hit a hospital and nearby buildings in the rebel-held part of Syria’s contested city of Aleppo overnight, killing at least 20 people -- including three children and the last pediatrician in the city. A Syrian monitoring group said more than 120 people have been killed in rebel-controlled Aleppo over the last week, including 18 children.
Here, a protester burns a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a demonstration after Friday prayers, on May 13, 2011, in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul.