The Syrian civil war (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية السورية) is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria in which international interventions have taken place. The war grew out of the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring and escalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad's government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. The war is now being fought among several factions: the Syrian Government, a loose alliance of Syrian Arab rebel groups, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) who often co-operate with the rebels, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The factions receive substantial support from foreign actors, leading many to label the conflict a proxy war waged by both regional and global powers.
Under the Assad regime, Syria went through significant neoliberal economic reform. This reform exacerbated disparities in wealth, which combined with a recession and several years of drought led to the spread of the Arab Spring to Syria. Protests quickly spread to the predominantly Kurdish areas of northern Syria.
Syrian opposition groups formed the Free Syrian Army and seized control of the area surrounding Aleppo and parts of southern Syria. Over time, factions of the Syrian opposition split from their original moderate position to pursue an Islamist vision for Syria as al-Nusra Front and ISIL. In the north, Syrian government forces largely withdrew to fight the FSA, allowing the Kurdish YPG to move in and claim de facto autonomy. In 2015 the YPG joined forces with Arab, Assyrian, Armenian and some Turkmen groups forming the Syrian Democratic Forces, while most Turkmen groups remained under FSA label.
International organizations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL and other opposition forces of severe human rights violations and of multiple massacres. The conflict has caused a considerable displacement of population. On 1 February 2016, a formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva Syria peace talks was announced by the UN but fighting continues unabated.