Committee to Protect Journalists on Steven Sotloff and James Foley: 'They were civilians, not representatives of any government. Their murders are war crimes and those who committed them must be brought to justice swiftly' - @pressfreedom
Editor's note: Steven Joel Sotloff, 31, worked as a freelance journalist and was captured in northern Syria a year ago. The New York Times reports that the same masked fighter who appeared in the video of James Foley’s execution also appears in the newest video.
Free Syrian Army members patrol Attarib, on the outskirts of Aleppo, on July 30, 2012. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters)
The uprising in Syria was sparked in March 2011 in the southern city of Daraa with demonstrators angered by the arrests of young people who scrawled anti-government graffiti. Their grievances and calls for reforms were met with a violent security crackdown, reportedly by by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The unrest served to catalyze anti-government protests across the nation.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since the uprising broke out, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in August 2012. In August 2012, Arab states -- including Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- urged their citizens to leave Lebanon after a mass kidnapping in retaliation for events in Syria raised fears that violence could be spilling across the region. - AFP, CNN, AP, Reuters
Toward the end of 2012, parties including Russia and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi have worked to broker a peace deal between the Syrian regime and rebel forces.