What began with largely peaceful protests against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011 has developed into a full-scale civil war. Assad's regime is violently crushing any opposition to his family's four-decade-long stranglehold on power. Government forces and rebel groups are engaging in violent battles. There is growing evidence that the regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against the rebels, increasing calls for a military intervention by the international community.
The ongoing conflict has devastated Syria. The United Nations estimates that over 70,000 people have died so far in the conflict. Nearly seven million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and over 1.3 million refugees have fled the violence to neighboring countries, North Africa and Europe.
DW looks at the effects of the conflict on Syria and the region.