The 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad gradually turned into a full-scale civil war, which killed nearly 100,000 and displaced millions of others. Now an imminent U.S. strike on Syrian forces targets in response to the alleged gassing of hundreds of civilians near Damascus has the potential to draw the United States into the country’s bloody conflict.
In this Thursday, March 8, 2012 file photo, Ahmed, center, mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib, north Syria. The U.N. warns that Syria's war is creating a generation of children who will grow up illiterate and filled with hate.
U.N. investigators wearing blue helmets speak with Free Syrian Army fighters in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. The Syrian government has agreed to let U.N. inspectors investigate the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least one hundred people in Damascus suburbs.
Click through for more dramatic images of Syria's conflict. WARNING: Some images are graphic.
An Israeli woman carries gas masks at a distribution center in the northern port city of Haifa, Israel, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Israeli police say thousands of Israelis are crowding gas-mask distribution facilities, readying for a potential conflict in Syria.
President Obama is preparing for a U.S.-led military action to retaliate for what the U.S. and its allies say was a deadly chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian government. But there are few good options for when to attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to change his stance late Wednesday, saying
military action would have to wait until the U.N. Security Council had seen the findings of inspectors in Damascus and the U.K. parliament had held two votes, one of them scheduled for next week.
People take part in a protest organized by the Stop the War coalition calling for no military attack on Syria from the U.S., Britain or France, across the road from the entrance of Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.
A member of a U.N. investigation team takes samples of sands near a part of a missile considered to be a chemical rocket, according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.
Members of the local Syrian community rally against the United States' involvement in Syria, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 in Allentown, Pa.
This Aug. 21, 2013 purports to show several bodies being buried during a funeral in a suburb of Damascus, Syria. A senior administration official said Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, that there is "very little doubt" that a
chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in an incident that killed at least a hundred people.
Syrian citizens mourning over the dead bodies of Syrian men after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
In this March 8, 2012 photo, Ahmed, center, mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib, north Syria. The U.N. warns that Syria's war is creating a generation of children who will grow up illiterate and filled with hate.
Syrian child, Amjad Al-Saleh, whose family fled their home in Marea, due to Syrian government shelling at their house, is comforted by his mother as he suffers from food poisoning, as they take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, near the Syrian town of Azaz, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. The United Nations said there are
one million Syrian children living in refugee camps after fleeing their war-torn homeland.
Syrian refugees chant anti-Bashar Assad slogans and wave victory signs, during a strike at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, April 25, 2013. The placards read in Arabic,"we demand from European Union to attack Assad's military posts," while the left placard is a greeting to an prisoner at the Syrian forces jails.
Syrian doctors treat an injured man who was wounded at the open-air cafeteria at Damascus University in the central Baramkeh district, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Mortar shells slammed into a cafeteria at Damascus University, killing at several people and wounding scores, according to state media and an official.
In this Friday February 8, 2013, photo, Free Syrian Army fighters sit behind their anti-aircraft weapon in Aleppo, Syria.
Syrian man carries his sister who was wounded in a government airstrike hit the neighborhood of Ansari, in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.
A Syrian boy holds a bird in his hand that he said was injured in a government airstrike hit the neighborhood of Ansari, in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.
In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria.
In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, a man runs between debris after a mortar shell hit a street killing several people in the Bustan Al-Qasr district of Aleppo, Syria.
In this Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 photo, a Free Syrian Army fighter aims his weapon during heavy clashes with government forces in Aleppo, Syria.
Damascus residents walk by damaged homes. The Syrian capital has been subject to countless bombings since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in the spring 2011.
Syrian boys, whose family fled their home in Idlib, walk to their tent, at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh, Syria, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.
FILE / AP
Syrian man cries while holding the body of his son near Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 photo, Basel Baradan, an 18-year-old farmer who fled his southern restive border town of Daraa, Syria with his family in July, wipes his eyes as he speaks during an interview at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, in Mafraq, Jordan.
Syrian president, Bashar Assad, greets Muslim clerics at Eid prayers in the Hamad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012.
This July 3, 2012, purports to show Free Syrian Army soldiers standing near a Syrian military tank in Idlib, north Syria. The head of Syria's U.N. observer mission said then that violence in the country has reached "unprecedented" levels and he called for an end to the bloodshed.
Syrian army soldiers hang their national flag in a partially destroyed neighborhood in the al-Midan area in Damascus on July 20, 2012.
A Syrian army defector, waves the Syrian revolution flag and shouts slogans shortly after he defected with other soldiers and join the anti-Syrian regime protesters at Khalidiya area in Homs province, central Syria, on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.
A young boy holds up a sign during an anti-regime demonstration in the Syrian village of al-Qsair, 25 km southwest of the flashpoint city Homs, on February 3, 2012.
This May 6, 2011, photo shows Syrian anti-government protesters carry a banner that reads in Arabic: "the security services has become out of laws and must be tried," during a rally in the central city of Homs, Syria.
Syrians protest against the regime of President Assad, in the coastal town of Banias, Syria, Thursday, May 5, 2011. The Syrian army said then that it has begun withdrawing from a city at the heart of the country's uprising, but the regime expanded its crackdown elsewhere by deploying soldiers and arresting hundreds ahead of a fresh wave of anti-government protests.
Syrian citizens look to a burned shop which was destroyed during a violence between security forces and armed groups in Latakia, northwest of Damascus, Syria, on Sunday, March 27, 2011.
Pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad protesters, shout pro-Assad slogans during demonstration, in Damascus, Syria, on Friday March 25, 2011.