Charting the War in Syria
by Shelley Brooks
The civil war in Syria is difficult to teach because of the diverse number of groups involved, the complex religious factors, and the duration of the war and its atrocities. The recent Current Context piece tries to draw these issues into focus with a succinct background piece and timeline of events. The classroom activity below is meant as a supplement to deepen students’ understanding.
Using a chart (with three columns: Assad/Syrian government, rebel/opposition, and Islamic State), students fill in different rows that include each group's war aim, its religious affiliation, and its current strategic position (and you may want to add other factors as well).
A classroom discussion can then consider:
- Why has this war lasted for so long?
- What, if anything, could bring peace?
- Why is this war important to the international community?
- How might the political and religious status of the bordering countries factor into this war?
Photo Credit: 'Deputy Secretary Blinken Speaks at a Meeting of the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force in Geneva on March 3, 2016' courtesy of the US Department of State (https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/25111847079/)