The situation in Syria, explained in 30 seconds

A woman and a child react as the body of a man killed during Turkish shelling in the area surrounding the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain arrives at a hospital in the nearby town of Tal Tamr following the announced ceasefire on October 18, 2019. - Turkish-led bombardment on October 18 killed over a dozen civilians in northeastern Syria, as Turkey's president threatened to broaden his assault and an hours-old US-brokered deal already appeared to crumble. That deal was meant to provide a five-day pause for the evacuation of Kurdish fighters from the battleground border town of Ras al-Ain and other areas Turkey wants to control along its border with Syria. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)Delil Souleiman/Getty Images

  • Trump's decision to pull US forces from Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria on October 6 left the civil-war-torn country open to Turkish attack, which followed on October 9.
  • Syria has been caught in a civil war since 2011 - some 500,000 people have perished and 12 million have been displaced, according to the Human Rights Watch.
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What has been happening in Syria?

President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull US forces from Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, officially announced by the White House on October 6, left the civil-war-torn country open to Turkish attack.

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Here's a 30-second explanation of what's been going on:

Here's a 30-second explanation of what's been going on:

Syria has been caught in a civil war since 2011. What started as as an uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was further complicated when ISIS declared its new caliphate in parts of Syria in 2014.

Some 500,000 people have perished and 12 million have been displaced because of the war, according to the Human Rights Watch.

The situation was exacerbated when President Trump ordered on October 6 that US soldiers be removed from the Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, leading Turkey to invade the northeastern part of the country shortly thereafter.

Turkey invaded northeast Syria on October 9 in a military operation called "Operation Peace Spring."

Turkey invaded northeast Syria on October 9 in a military operation called "Operation Peace Spring."

Turkey's goal is to create a buffer zone at the Turkish border of Syria between the Turks and Kurds, and to repatriate the 3.6 million Syrian refugees who have come to Turkey as a result of the civil war. The Turkish incursion — led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who many call authoritarian — against Syria continues.

The Kurds are a minority ethnic group in the Middle East, living mostly in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Turkey considers the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a terrorist group. Turkey also considers the YPG (Kurdish People's Protection Unit), which is the backbone of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controlling the northeast, to be a terror organization as well.

Read more about who controls Syria, the Syrian-Turkish border, and ISIS in Syria here.

And finally, here's a 5-minute explanation of the events leading up to and through October, via a timeline of our past coverage:

And finally, here's a 5-minute explanation of the events leading up to and through October, via a timeline of our past coverage:
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