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  • Reports in June of 2015 suggested that Syrian government forces were actively helping ISIS

  • as the terrorist group spreads throughout civil war-torn Syria. With the country in

  • a total state of chaos, and Bashar Al-Assad taking widely condemned military action against

  • his citizens, Syria is considered one of the least peaceful countries in the world. So,

  • how powerful is Syria?

  • Well, before the start of the ongoing 2011 civil war, Syria was already a pretty bad

  • place to live. Since 1963, the country has been non-democratically ruled by the Assad

  • family, with no constitutional protections for their citizens under a form of martial

  • law. The dramatic shift caused by the Arab Spring and leading to the civil war has had

  • significant repercussions.

  • In what has been called one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies of our era,

  • the war forced the evacuation and displacement of almost half the country’s 18 million

  • residents. Of them, 6.5 million have been forced out of their homes, about 3 million

  • have fled outside the country, and at least 200,000 have been killed between March 2011

  • and April 2014.

  • Before the war, Syria was mostly an oil country, with petroleum accounting for half of their

  • exports. However, their GDP was only about 60 billion, ranked roughly 70th in the world.

  • And even without the war, the country is running into declining oil production, high unemployment,

  • unequal supply and demand of water, and unsustainable population growth. A recent report said that

  • it would take Syria at least three decades to rebuild their meager economy after the

  • end of the conflict.

  • Syria’s military has also taken a big hit. Even though their forces are staffed through

  • conscription, the number of enlisted members has dropped by 55% from 325,000 to 150,000.

  • Many have been killed or have left the country. This has resulted in a campaign to force those

  • who have finished their military service to be forced back into duty.

  • The country’s problems have only been exacerbated by the almost intentional presence of ISIS,

  • which has captured a number of Syrian cities and oilfields, and diverted much of the country’s

  • wealth and resources onto themselves. With these new allegations that Bashar Al-Assad

  • has been helping ISIS, Syria’s power has some terrifying implications. So how powerful

  • is Syria? Powerful enough to destroy its own population and economy, and serve as a breeding

  • ground for the violently powerful terrorist state.

Reports in June of 2015 suggested that Syrian government forces were actively helping ISIS

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