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The United Nations estimates that about 100,000 people have been killed in fighting so far, with millions displaced by the conflict. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was strong evidence that the government had indeed used chemical weapons.
In August of last year, President Barack Obama said, "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my equation." After several reports of small-scale use of chemical weapons, on Aug. Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and Science Now.
21, opposition forces say that the government had used chemical weapons in an attack that killed more than 300 people and affected thousands of others in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.
Marriage and Family Most people are careful to choose a potential marriage partner of whom the family approves.
(Demonstrations in Lebanon successfully removed Syrian presence in the country after the assassination of Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.) Hafez al-Assad, the current president's father, was in power from 1971 until his death in 2000.
The elder Assad violently squelched dissent and killed thousands of people in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982.
[In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World] Whereas most people in Syria speak Arabic, about 9 percent of the population — mostly in the northeast — speak Kurdish. Ancient history Syria has been a cradle of civilization for at least 10,000 years. Since then, it has been part of the major empires of history: At various times, the Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Macedonians and Romans ruled the region. Notable places The biggest cities in the country — Aleppo, in the northwest, and Damascus, in the southwest — are truly ancient.It was home to the ancient majestic city of Ebla, which flourished from 1800 B. Damascus was first mentioned in an Egyptian document dating to 1500 B. Carbon dating from archaeological sites near Tell Ramad, just outside of Damascus, suggests that site has been occupied as far back as 6300 B. Aleppo may be one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world: There is evidence of human inhabitance of the area from about 6000 B.C., and because the city was along the Silk Road, it saw bustling trade for centuries.The current president Assad assumed his position after his father's death. Current conflict The civil war was set in motion after President Bashar al-Assad violently suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011. However, those groups have increasingly been composed of Islamist factions, making the United States wary of assisting them.In February 2012, several world leaders condemned the massacre by government forces of 300 people in the city of Homs.