Five years ago, Bashar al-Assad’s government brutally suppressed mass protests which began on March 15, 2011. The violent response sparked the region’s most severe armed conflict.
1. More than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the UN. War crimes and crimes against humanity are rife.
2. Since then, more than 11 million people have been forced from their homes, including around 7 million people within Syria and more than 4 million who are now refugees abroad, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Tens of thousands of refugees from Syria have also fled to Europe, often risking their lives in the process.
3. Government forces have repeatedly shelled and bombed civilian areas using indiscriminate weapons, including barrel bombs. They’ve also bombed hospitals, targeted medical workers and mounted long-running sieges of opposition-held areas, depriving people of food, medicines and other necessities. According to Physicians for Human Rights, 112 medical facilities were attacked in 2015 alone, the majority by government forces.