As the U.S. considers a military strike in Syria, take a look at some of the key things to know about the conflict and the country.
There are also a lot of local militias. Imagine the Minutemen during the American Revolutionary War, says Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "It's extremely complicated to deal with them because there are so may voices among the opposition," Tabler says. The rebel militias are composed in large part of defector soldiers. But there are also many civilians, including students, shopkeepers, real-estate agents, and even members of al-Assad's ruling Ba'ath party.
Christian Hartmann, Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
REUTERS/San Lorenzo soccer club/Handout
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