2018 marked another bloody year in Syria 

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 28, 2018, 05:34 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria on December 19 stating that America had "defeated ISIS" in the war-ravaged country. 

The year 2018 saw the retreat of US troops from Syria and the decline of the jihadist militant group ISIS from the country.

President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria on December 19 stating that America had "defeated ISIS" in the war-ravaged country. 

The first US troops were deployed in Syria during the Obama administration in 2015 when the militant group was at its peak. The US had set up about 2,000 troops in the country to support local forces fighting the Islamic State.

The troops had never been involved in a direct fight with the militant group unless it was for their self-defence. Since 2015 the forces had been assisting and advising the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF).

The SDF working alongside the US troops have reclaimed most of the territories that were lost to the ISIS.

After seven years of deadly war between the US-led SDF force and other foreign forces, the Islamic State has now been pushed back to the border of the Syrian territories and has lost control over the majority of the area that they once controlled.

The civil war in Syria

Syria fell into a civil war in 2011 following the Arab Spring protest led by the civilians against the unfair government.

The protests turned violent and an armed revolt broke out after some of the protesters took up guns. Several groups were formed inside the country after the civilians faced brutal suppression from the government. A series of arrests and shootings followed the Arab Spring.

The government's brutal crackdown of peaceful protests resulted in an armed revolt against it. Syria was divided into several groups which received aid and support from different foreign groups.

The Bashar al-Assad regime backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey fought against the radical forces. While the US fought alongside the Kurds against them. 

The Kurdish forces have been demanding a separate country for themselves. Though the US has never been in favour of the Bashar al-Assad government it did not make much effort to eliminate it from the country because the other alternative against the Assad regime was the Islamic State which the US knew would be even more dangerous.

The current situation

Over the years the civil war in Syria resulted in the killing of over millions of civilians. Syria became a battleground for not only the different internal groups but also global powers such as the US, Russia, Iran and Turkey.

The civilians were falling victim to the atrocities and armed killing by the Islamic State and also the chemical attack by the Bashar al-Assad led government and the proxy war of the global powers.

Though the Islamic State has lost almost all the territories in the seventh year of the deadly war, the militant group still remains a threat. The IS has shown an ability to stage sudden guerrilla attacks despite losing its so-called caliphate.

The government now holds more than half of the country, including its most populous areas, the main cities, coast, the border with Lebanon, most of the border with Jordan, central Syrian desert and the main gas fields.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias now controls almost all the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates, including the former IS capital of Raqqa and some of the country’s biggest oil fields.

(With input from agencies)