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Local Expert Weighs In on Syrian Civil War

The conflict in Syria is complicated. Many Americans are unfamiliar with the country and it's tense history between rebels and the governing power.
The conflict in Syria is complicated. Many Americans are unfamiliar with the country and it's tense history between rebels and the governing power.

Protests against the Syrian dictatorship turned violent in the spring of 2011. The violence between government forces and rebels has killed more than 100,000 people since the civil war started two years ago. 

As IPFW political science professor James Lutz explains, the tensions between rebels and the government comes from a history of oppression and religious turmoil. 

"And some of the opposition is very much religious... Many of the other opponents are basically opposed to the dictatorship and it doesn't have anything to do with religion," said Lutz.

The United States is preparing for a possible strike against Syria in retaliation for president Bashir Al-Assad's suspected use of weapons against civilians. Professor Lutz says that evidence strongly supports the allegation that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its people. 

Now the debate is on, members of congress are meeting to decide if they will vote in favor of a U.S. strike in the country. Right now the United States is the only country considering the strike. 

The British Prime Minister is in favor of a military strike against Syria but Parliament voted against any military action in the country. Bashir Al-Assad's primary allies are Russia, Iran and China. 
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