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The Syrian Conflict in Five Minutes

Update (9/01/2014) This animation was published on June of 2013 and since then many new developments have occurred: The rise of ISIS and the loss of influence of the Free Syrian Army; the consolidation of Assad's power and the destabilization of Iraq among others. Although I would love to update the video, I have moved to other projects, but I believe the causes of the conflict and the events that led to it remain the same.
This has been a learning experience on the development of an animation for a topic that remains in the news cycle and it has yielded valuable lessons for the new ones.

This animation explains the origins and ramifications of the Syrian conflict. It aims to be a starting point for a deeper exploration of the topic, providing background and context to audiences that haven't followed the conflict closely.
In March of 2011 thousands took to the streets all over Syria to demand reforms, following the example of popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. The government of Bashar Al-Assad responded with force, triggering a civil war that has claimed the lives of over 60.000 Syrians in the last two years and brought misery to both sides of the conflict.


Sources and Further Readings


  • The Arab Spring started with popular protests in Tunisia and quickly expanded to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and more countries. In some, the uprisings toppled their governments; in others their demands prompted reforms. The BBC provides a detailed look at each country’s revolution and its outcomes.

  • Some of the most basic facts about Syria (population, main industries, borders) can be found at the  CIA Factbook.

  • Syria’s popular uprisings started in March of 2011. Syria Deeply compiled a very detailed timeline of every key moment since then

  • Who is Bashar Al-Assad? The Wall Street Journal created an interactive timeline that focuses on the life of the president of Syria.

  • Before he passed away while covering the war in Syria, Anthony Shadid, foreign correspondent for the New York Times, wrote this piece about the Assad family and their influence in Syria for Frontline: ( November 2011)

  • Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, ruled Syria for decades and intended for his eldest son, Bassel to take over his position. This Foreign Policy piece explains how Bashar came to power and the similarities and differences with his father.

  • This article from the New York Review of Books offers more background on the Assads and their role in Syrian history in the last 50 years before delving deeper on the beginning of the war and how it escalated rapidly. (Paywall)

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