Syria’s tragic descent

  • Smoke rises over the Saif Al Dawla district of Aleppo, Syria on Oct. 2, 2012. Months of devastating violence in Syria have left their mark everywhere including entire blocks of apartment buildings that have been shattered, their top floors reduced to pancaked concrete.
  • A rebel fighter claims victory after he fires a shoulder-fired missile toward a building where Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were hiding during heavy clashes in the Jedida district of Aleppo on Nov. 4, 2012. The uprising against al-Assad started with peaceful demonstrations in March 2011, but has since morphed into a bloody civil war.
  • Aida cries as she recovers from severe injuries after the Syrian Army shelled her home in Idlib, northern Syria on March 10, 2012. Aida’s husband and two of her children were killed during the attack.
  • A family crying outside a hospital after surviving a strike by Syrian regime forces in the Sheikh Fares district of Aleppo on Sept. 18, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter shoots his gun towards government troops as rebel fighters belonging to the Liwa al-Tawhid carry out a military operation at the Moaskar front line, one of the battlefields in the Karm al-Jabal neighborhood of Aleppo on Oct. 24, 2012.
  • A man carrying grocery bags tries to dodge sniper fire as he runs through an alley near a Free Syrian Army checkpoint in Aleppo on Sept. 14, 2012. Syrian regime forces used fighter jets and helicopter gunships to pound the city and province of Aleppo, where fierce clashes raged around a military airport, monitors said.
  • A man carries his wounded daughter outside a hospital in the city of Aleppo on Sept. 18, 2012 while Syrian troops shelled several districts in the city and clashed with rebels.
  • A man removes debris after a mortar shell hit a street killing several people in the Bustan Al-Qasr district of Aleppo on Dec. 17, 2012.
  • A man covers his face as he cries after being wounded by a mortar launched by regime forces in Aleppo on Oct. 21, 2012. Hopes of a truce being implemented in war-torn Syria during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays were “slim,” the Arab League said, as heavy fighting erupted in Damascus and on northern battlefields.
  • A rebel sniper aims at a Syrian army position, seen with another rebel fighter reflected in a mirror, from a building in Aleppo on Oct. 29, 2012. Syrian fighter jets pounded rebel areas across the country on that Monday with airstrikes that anti-regime activists called the most widespread bombing in a single day since Syria’s troubles started.
  • Smoke rises from a petrol station following a mortar attack as Syrian women walk on a rainy day in Arqub neighborhood of Aleppo on Oct. 25, 2012. The bloody conflict in Syria started as peaceful protests for reform in the wake of the Arab Spring, but morphed into a bitter civil war.
  • A Syrian man holds a crying girl as he gestures following an air strike by government forces on the Sahour neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on March 6, 2014.
  • In the city of Aleppo, a Free Syrian Army fighter rests in a burned out building after a morning of clashes with Syrian President Bashar al-Assads’ army on Oct. 3, 2012.
  • A man looks through a window at the body of a man lying in a truck outside a hospital in Aleppo on Oct. 21, 2012 as heavy fighting erupted in Damascus and on northern battlefields.
  • Two men grieving on a street in Aleppo on Oct. 3, 2012 as the soldiers loyal to the regime continued their relentless military campaign to regain control of the city.
  • A Syrian rebel gestures as he waits to be treated for his wounds at a hospital in the Sheikh Fares district of Aleppo on Sept. 18, 2012 as Syrian troops shelled several districts in Aleppo and clashed with rebels.
  • Kamal, the father of an eight-year-old girl who was fatally wounded cries while being treated in a local hospital in a rebel-controlled area of Aleppo on Oct. 31, 2012. His  family was wounded, and daughter killed by fire from a Syrian government forces’ jet at the Karm Al-Aser neighborhood of eastern Aleppo.
  • A wounded Syrian man is treated in a makeshift hospital after artillery mortar shells landed on the opposite side of a bread shop operated by the civilian arm of the Free Syrian Army in the Bustan Al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo on Dec. 3, 2012.
  • As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army steped up its military campaign to regain control of Aleppo, a severely wounded baby is medically treated by the small staff of doctors in one of the city’s last standing hospitals on Oct. 3, 2012.
  • A family escapes from fierce fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government troops in Idlib, northern Syria on March 10, 2012.
  • Two Syrian rebels take sniper positions at the heavily contested neighborhood of Karm al-Jabal in central Aleppo on Oct. 18, 2012. Violence persisted on Oct. 19 with rebels and loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad locked in battle for the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan on the Damascus-Aleppo highway linking Syria’s two biggest cities.
  • A Syrian man cries while holding the body of his brother, killed by Syrian Army shelling, near Dar al-Shifa hospital in Aleppo on Oct. 11, 2012.
  • A wounded woman still in shock leaves Dar Al Shifa hospital in Aleppo on Sept. 20, 2012. More than 100,000 people have been killed since the start of Syria’s conflict over two years ago.
  • A young boy, Ahmed, mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, during his funeral in Idlib, northern Syria on March 8, 2012. Khrer was killed by a Syrian Army sniper.
  • Residents run from a fire at a gasoline and oil shop in Aleppo's Bustan Al-Qasr neighborhood on Oct. 20, 2013. Witnesses said the fire was caused by a bullet fired by a sniper loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime.
  • In Aleppo’s Karm al-Jabal district, Fouad Al Bussan, a member of the Free Syrian Army and a seasoned sniper is ordered by his superiors to shoot at anything that moves in front of him on Oct. 23, 2012.
  • Syrian civilians carry their belongings from their homes destroyed during clashes between the Sunni-dominated Free Syrian Army and Syrian soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad in the town of Hejeira, which Syrian troops captured near Damascus, Syria on Nov. 21, 2013.
  • A Syrian rebel at their headquarters in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib on Dec. 12, 2012. The Syrian rebel chief, a defected army general who spent months in exile, says he has begun operating inside Syria to unite autonomous anti-regime militias for what he hopes will be the final push against President Bashar al-Assad.
  • A member of the Free Syrian Army holds his weapon as he sits on a sofa in the middle of a street in Deir al-Zor on April 2, 2013.
  • A crowd gathers after a bomb explosion in the Mezzeh 86 area of Damascus, in this photograph released by Syria’s national news agency SANA, on Nov. 5, 2012. The bomb attack in the western district of Damascus killed 11 people and wounded dozens more, including children, Syrian state media and an activist group reported.
  • A man runs as he carries a child who survived from what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Ferdaws in Aleppo on Jan. 21, 2014.
  • A young Syrian boy holds a bird in his hand that he said was injured in a government airstrike that hit the neighborhood of Ansari, in Aleppo on Feb. 3, 2013.
  • An apartment destroyed by tank shelling is seen in a building in the Karm al-Jabel neighborhood after several days of intense clashes between rebel fighters and the Syrian army in Aleppo on Oct. 28, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry the body of a comrade killed by the Syrian Army in Azaz on Dec. 13, 2012.
  • In Aleppo’s Bustan al-Basha distrcit, Mohammed Jaffar kisses the Koran in a sign of respect to his religion on Oct. 22, 2012. Jaffar is a 17-year-old Free Syrian Army fighter, making him the youngest member the Mutasm Bellah Katiba.
  • A Syrian woman walks past a destroyed building while reaching a food distribution center in Aleppo on Sept. 13, 2012. Syrian fighter jets and tanks pounded the northern city as witnesses reported rebels advancing into the key contested central Midan district.
  • A displaced Syrian boy is seen at the top of an olive tree near the Azaz camp for displaced people, north of Aleppo province on Feb. 22, 2013. According to Syrian activists the number of refugees in the Azaz camp has grown by 3,000 in the last weeks due to heavier shelling by government forces.
  • A Syrian refugee, crosses illegally into Turkey on the border in Cilvegozu, Turkey on Dec. 20, 2012.
  • The body of a Syrian Army soldier lies on the ground after heavy clashes with government forces at a military academy besieged by the rebels in Tal Sheer on Dec. 16, 2012.
  • Syrian refugees cross from Syria to Turkey via the Orontes River, near the village of Hacipasa, Turkey on Dec. 8, 2012.
  • A Syrian refugee woman is seen between a line of tents in a refugee camp near Azaz, north of Aleppo province, Syria on Feb 17, 2013.
  • Syrian army solider defectors are seen in a temporary prison as Free Syrian Army fighters investigate their identity in the village of Azaz on Dec. 10, 2012.
  • Young Syrians dance at a popular bar in the Old City in Damascus, Syria on Oct. 24, 2013. While most people in the capital lock themselves fearfully in their homes as the night falls, the joyful crowd of young Syrians dressed in tight jeans and designer clothes go wild with the sound of local Arab hits, clapping and dancing and deafening the booms of the artillery outside.
  • Free Syrian Army soldier shoots his machine gun against Syrian Army troops in Saif Al Dawle district in Aleppo on Oct. 2, 2012.
  • View through a broken window of damaged buildings from shelling in Aleppo on Oct. 21, 2012. With death lurking around every corner, the survival instincts of Aleppo’s population are being stretched to the limit every day as the battle between Syria’s rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for the country’s largest city stretches over many destructive month.
  • Civilians react after an airstrike by the regime in the neighborhood of Al-Sukary in Aleppo on March 20, 2013.
  • Pigeons lie on the ground after dying from what activists say is the use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen on Aug. 24, 2013.
  • A child in one of Aleppo’s hospitals is treated after being wounded by shrapnel on Sept. 30, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army commander in Aleppo sits down after a suprise attack by regime forces destroyed a key fighting position along the front line on Oct. 2, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters hold their weapons during heavy clashes with government forces in Aleppo on Jan. 20, 2013.
  • A man points a flashlight at the body of a man killed by Syrian army shelling at a graveyard in Aleppo on Oct. 13, 2012.
  • Women, who are part of the Sawt al-Haq (Voice of Rights), stand with their weapons as they undergo military training in Aleppo on Feb.17, 2013. These women are undergoing military training to form the Nazek Obeid group as part of the Sawt al-Haq battalion, which is based on the frontline of Aleppo's Sheikh Saeed neighborhood.
  • A boy caries on with his work at a car wash in Aleppo amidst ongoing violent clashes in the city on Feb. 27, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter displays a damaged ordinance in Aleppo on Jan. 15, 2013. Two explosions struck the main university in the northern Syrian city causing an unknown number of casualties, state media and anti-government activists said.
  • A Syrian girl from Aleppo looks outside a window of an abandoned building where she and several families took refuge due to fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in the northeastern city of Qamishli on Feb. 28, 2013.
  • Displaced Syrian children show their toy marbles while playing in the Azaz camp for displaced people, north of Aleppo province, Syria on Feb. 22, 2013.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter plays football in the street in the Saif al-Dawlah neighborhood of Aleppo on Jan. 2, 2013. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus on Jan 30, 2013. The attack happened as the rebels regrouped after the sniper attack, the shell struck the deserted building where they were sheltering, sending shattered concrete and dust raining down on them.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus on Jan. 30, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus on Jan. 30, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus on Jan. 30, 2013.
  • In this Feb. 3, 2013 file photo, Syrian man carries his sister who was wounded in a government airstrike hit the neighborhood of Ansari, in Aleppo, Syria. From the three-year-old boy who washed ashore on a Turkish beach to the 71 migrants who suffocated in a truck in Austria to the daily scenes of chaos unfolding in European cities as governments try to halt a human tide heading north. There is no let up to the horrors that Syria’s civil war keeps producing. Syria’s brutal conflict, now in its fifth year, has touched off the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. About 250,000 people have been killed and more than one million wounded since March 2011, according to U.N. officials.
  • In this March 3, 2013 file photo, Kurdish female members of the Popular Protection Units stand guard at a check point near the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria. Taking advantage of the chaos of the civil war, Syria’s Kurdish minority has carved out a once unthinkable independence in their areas, creating their own police forces, even their own license plates, and exuberantly going public with their language and culture.
  • A handout picture released by the US Navy shows the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) launching a Tomahawk cruise missile against IS (Islamic State) targets in Syria, as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Arabian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014.
  • Cars abandoned by Yazidi refugees who fled Iraq for Syria, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Syrian government officials walk on a road, back dropped, by damaged buildings from fighting with Free Syrian Army fighters in the old city of Homs, Syria, May 8, 2014. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in the north prepared to regain control of the central city of Homs following last week’s cease-fire agreement after a fierce, two-year battle with the rebels trying to oust him.
  • Rabia Ali mourns at the grave of her son Seydo Mehmud ‘Curo’, a Kurdish fighter who was killed in fighting with militants of the Islamic State group in Kobani, Syria, and was buried on Oct. 7, at a cemetery in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.
  • In this picture taken Jan. 30, 2015, a Syrian Kurdish man walks among the rubble in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani. The Islamic State group has acknowledged for the first time that its fighters have been defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani and vowed to attack the town again.
  • In this Nov. 1, 2014 photo, Kurdish fighters take up different positions to lure Islamic State group militants to give their location in Kobani, Syria.
  • Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following an airstrike by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Nov. 17, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters.
  • Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Oct. 18, 2014. A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold a large swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria, two countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.
  • Men walk along a street at night in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Nov. 19, 2014. Residents in Eastern al-Ghouta have been cut off the main electricity grid for two years, activists said, relying on generators and other sources of light at night.
  • A maimed mannequin rests in the center of the Syrian city of Kobane, Jan. 28, 2015, which had been totally cleared of ISIS by YPG fighters. At the time, YPG fighters were mostly resting and celebrating their defensive victory in the heavily damaged town.
  • YPG fighter Dujvar Haci poses in the heavily damaged town of Kobane, Syria, Jan. 29, 2015. YPG/YPJ fighters had stated that they would not start rebuilding it until all the villages are taken back from ISIS.
  • A YPG fighter looks out in the outskirts of the heavily damaged town of Kobane, Syria, which they had taken back from ISIS, Jan. 29, 2015.
  • Syrians evacuate people from damaged buildings following the Russian airstrikes on the opposition-controlled Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on Nov. 3, 2015.
  • Children, who live in the rebel-held neighborhood of Jobar in Damascus, cross a trench leading to Jobar after visiting the neighboring suburb of Hamouriyeh to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Syria, July 18, 2015.
  • A Syrian APC moves raising dust in Harasta, northeast of Damascus, Syria, Oct. 22, 2015. Syrian troops have been fighting rebels in the frontline district, which lies on the northeastern edge of Damascus and only few miles from the presidential palace, since 2013. Neither side has been able to make a breakthrough in the fighting, although state media has reported Syrian army advances in the last week as part of a major army offensive.
  • A soldier stands guard in an outdoor bazaar on Nov. 12, 2015 in Qamishli, Rojava, Syria. The autonomous Rojava government in northern Syria has improved security in the predominantly Kurdish area, battling ISIL extremists who had earlier taken over much of the region from the embatled Syrian regime.
  • People walk from a rooftop overlooking a burning oil well on Nov. 10, 2015 near the ISIL-held town of Hole in the autonomous region of Rojava, Syria.
  • Family members and comrades grieve during the funeral of eight members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), that were buried in a martyrs’ cemetery on Nov. 8, 2015 in Derek, Rojava, Syria.
  • A funeral procession carries eight members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to a martyrs’ cemetery on Nov. 8, 2015 in Derek, Rojava, Syria. Seven of the eight soldiers buried were killed in an ISIL car bomb attack during an ongoing YPG offensive near Hassaka. The predominantly Kurdish region of Rojava in northeast Syria has become a bulwark against the Islamic State.
  • Children run as they flee from a makeshift playground after hearing the sound of a Syrian fighter jet hovering over Idlib city, Syria, July 18, 2015.
  • Men carry an injured civilian at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Maaret al-Naaman town in Idlib province, June 4, 2015.
  • A rebel fighter fires a weapon towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s Sheikh Saeed neighborhood, May 24, 2015.
  • Ghazal, 4, (L) and Judy, 7, carrying 8-month-old Suhair, react after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad near the Syrian Arab Red Crescent center in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, May 6, 2015.
  • An injured man walks amid debris as residents reacts at a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Thawra neighborhood in Idlib city, April 20, 2015.
  • Residents help a man out of rubbles after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern Al-Ghouta, near Damascus, March 7, 2015.
  • A general view shows a damaged street with sandbags used as barriers in Aleppo’s Saif al-Dawla district, March 6, 2015.
  • A fighter of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fires an anti-aircraft weapon from Tel Tawil village in the direction of Islamic State fighters positioned in the countryside of the town of Tel Tamr, Feb. 25, 2015. Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group.
  • A man crosses the Al-Haj highway, which is closed because of sniper fire by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad, in Aleppo, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • In this picture taken on Oct. 23, 2015, a Syrian refugee boy Ahmad Abdullah, 7, center, who fled with his family from the central Syrian town of Palmyra from the Russian airstrikes, plays next to his father and sister, right, at their unfurnished home, in the Turkish-Syrian border city of Reyhanli, southern Turkey. Activists say most Russian strikes have targeted Syrian rebels not connected to IS, including U.S.-backed factions, with the aim of weakening them and tipping the conflict in favor of Moscow’s ally, President Bashar Assad.
  • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian government troops hug each other in celebration inside the Kweiras air base, east of Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 11, 2015. Syrian government forces broke a siege imposed by the Islamic State group on the northern military air base of Kweiras since 2013.
  • This image made from video released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows French army jets taking off from a site in Jordan to strike at Islamic State group targets Nov. 15, 2015. France launched “massive” air strikes on the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital in Syria Sunday night, destroying a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in the city of Raqqa, where Iraqi intelligence officials say the attacks on Paris were planned.
  • In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Nov. 17, 2015, Russian Tu-22 bombers escorted by the Su-27s fighter jets drop bombs on a target in Syria. Russia’s defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group.
  • Doctors treat an injured civilian in a field hospital after what activists said was shelling by forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria, Nov. 19, 2015. A group monitoring the Syrian war said on Thursday negotiations had failed to produce a ceasefire between government forces and rebels in the area.
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The five-year-old conflict, which began with a government crackdown on peaceful protests, has drawn a confusing array of players and alliances, fueled the growth of ISIS, and spawned a refugee crisis. The United States can’t seem to get its strategy right — and now it’s grappling with Russia, which just launched its own bombing campaign.

Here’s a look at where things stand now.

A newly-aggressive Russia

After giving the United States and its allies an hour’s notice, Russia sent warplanes into Syria on Wednesday to conduct bombings in support of President Bashar Assad. Russia said it was bombing ISIS targets, but U.S. officialsquestioned whether the strikes were also targeting rebels trying to overthrow Assad, a longtime ally of Russia.

Earlier in the week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the United Nations General Assembly that the only way to defeat ISIS was to back Assad. President Obama, however, insisted that the only path toward peace was by getting rid of Assad through a “managed transition.”

Russia also went behind the United States’ back last week and forged an agreement with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about ISIS.

A determined United States

The United States and its military partners have not relented in their attempts to weaken ISIS by pounding the terror group’s positions with airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. The campaign — dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve — is a year old now, and counts more than 60 countries as partners, including the Muslim states Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Together, they have conducted more than 2,500 airstrikes in Syria. The estimated cost so far: $3.87 billion.

Questionable results

All this effort, and ISIS just seems to keep growing. The group has reportedly drawn about 30,000 new recruits into Syria and Iraq, twice the estimate of a year ago. That includes 250 American citizens, according to government estimates.

At the same time, a $500 million Pentagon program to train Syrian fighters against ISIS has only four or five still on the battlefield. The terror group’s ability to direct and influence attacks around the world has only increased. The violence and economic collapse has killed tens of thousands of civilians and displaced millions from their homes.

Humanitarian crisis

More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled the country, driving a massive wave of migrants and refugees moving from the Middle East and Africa into Europe, which is struggling to accommodate the largest mass movement of people in Europe since World War II. Some countries have closed their borders, sparking more tension.

United Nations officials have said there is no end in sight for the humanitarian crisis, in which an estimated 8,000 people a day are pouring into Europe. The situation has also raised concerns of ISIS members moving among borders to conduct attacks in the West. One U.N. official has said that 10 million people were expected to need humanitarian support by the end of the year.

President Obama has promised to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States.

More turbulence ahead

Syria is divided among four groups — the government, strongest in the big cities and west; various rebel factions, strongest in the northwest; ISIS holding positions along the Euphrates River; and Kurdish forces controlling much of the northern border with Turkey.

The United States and the coalition it leads are trying to clear the Turkish border zone of ISIS influence. But Russia’s escalating involvement in support of the government could have a profound effect on those dynamics.

The result is impossible to predict. The Institute for the Study of War forecast that the war would intensify, spark more disorder beyond Syria’s borders and threaten the United States’ influence.

Terrorist attack in Paris, France

Coordinated terrorist attacks that roiled Paris in November killed at least 129 people and injured more than 350 others — all in a matter of minutes. The assaults unfolded at various locations throughout the French capital and its suburbs, among them restaurants, a popular nightclub, and a soccer stadium. Seven suspects are dead, six from blowing themselves up, authorities said, and one shot by police. Here’s how it unfolded, from


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