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As Obama confirmed Saturday, his intention is to strike Syria. Although they would be “limited” military strikes, the U.S. would still be getting involved in a civil war that much of the public doesn’t understand. To fully understand this conflict, we have to go back and start from the beginning.

Right now is the an important time to inform the general public on this issue as President Obama just began his uphill battle to sway Congress. On Monday, Obama began talks with Republicans in the hopes to build bipartisan support before voting begins. The President doesn’t technically need Congressional approval before launching the attacks on Syria.

The Syrian civil war began on March 15th, 2011. It started with demonstrations demanding that President Bashar al-Assad resign. In April of 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to stop the demonstrations. The Syrian Army began firing on protesters across Syria. After several months of military attacks, the demonstrations turned into an armed rebellion.

The largest opposition group in Syria is the Free Syrian Army. The Free Syrian Army claims to have 80,000 members. They are supposedly comprised mainly of defected soldiers and civilians.

Recent use of chemical weapons by al-Assad’s army caused international outrage. The chemical attacks are what pushed President Obama into deciding to strike al-Assad.

Many who oppose the idea of the U.S. getting involved in Syria will argue that we’d be fighting for al-Qaeda. This is a very interesting point and deserves more spotlight. Various al-Qaeda elements are pouring into Syria. If al-Assad is overthrown, who will take control of Syria?