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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

How well do you know the Syrian conflict? Find out with this quiz

As the conflict in Syria continues into its fourth year, there is a great deal of confusion as to who the main players are and who is supporting them. Unfortunately, the American news cycle does not take a great deal of time to delve into the variety of factions that are fighting in Syria, leaving the American public as well as policy makers dangerously ignorant about the current crisis. I view this as a sin, as the war has left up to 306,335 dead, 5.1 million internally displaced refugees and nearly 3.5 million Syrian exiled from their native land, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. We should all agree that knowledge about the conflict is important, but do you know the intricate details of this civil war? It is a daunting challenge, but as future leaders, it would be best for you to at least test your knowledge of this conflict.

1) For whom is Hezbollah fighting?

a) Syrian government

b) Syrian revolution

c) Neither (neutral)

2) The Muhajirin wa-Ansar Alliance is allied to which organization?

a) Syrian government

b) Syrian revolution

c) Iran

3) The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine works in conjunction with the Assad regime in Syria. True or False?

4) ISIS was created during the Syrian Civil War. True or False?

5) What is Al Nusra?

a) Alawite militia siding with Assad

b) ISIS armed branch

c) Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch

6) The Islamic Front is one of the largest parts of the revolution and is a coalition of several factions. Can you tell which faction is not a part of the Islamic Front?

a) Al-Tahwid Brigade

b) Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq

c) Ahrar al Sham

7) What city is the capital of ISIS?

a) Mosul

b) Felucia

c) Raqqa

8) ISIS assassinated a Palestinian leader named Yahya Hourani in the Yarmouk camp before they attacked it. Which group did Yahya Hourani belong to?

a) Hamas

b) PLO


d) Islamic Jihad

9) Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has sided with the Syrian Revolution, in particular the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front. However, Hamas receives most of its arms from Iran, and has built an important relationship with the Iranian regime. Iran is a very important ally for Assad. Who have Hamas members in Syria sided with?

a) Remained neutral

b) Syrian regime

c) Syrian revolution

10) Which group has killed more civilians than any other faction?

a) Syrian government


c) Syrian revolution (includes all groups from FSA, Islamic Front, Al Nusra, Kurdish militias, etc.)

Hopefully, you did well. But regardless of how you did, I hope this serves as a reminder to keep informed about political events as they unfold in today’s world despite, their horrific nature. It is also important to note that Syria, its history, and its people are far more than this conflict. This op-ed does not serve to educate one about Syria, just the current military situation.

Answer Key
1) A: Hezbollah as a Shia militia has sided with the Assad regime in a deepening sectarian war. Assad’s regime is largely seen as favoring Shia and Alawite minorities, leaving many Sunni’s to support the revolution whereas Shia militias and nations such as Iran send troops and arms to the Assad Regime.

2) B: This is an Islamic group fighting against the Assad regime.

3) False: it is neutral although a separate branch of the PFLP. The PFLP-General Command has sided with the Syrian regime and had unsuccessfully tried to subjugate the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.

4) False: ISIS was a branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that had formed in the aftermath of the United States-led invasion of Iraq. Many former members of the Iraqi Baathist party have found their way into its ranks.

5) C: Al Nusra is Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria and is made up of foreign fighters ranging everywhere from Chechnya to Britain as well as Syrians themselves. They were formally allied to ISIS before ideological differences made them enemies. They are currently allied to most of the Syrian opposition.

6) B: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq is a Shia militia in Iraq currently fighting ISIS.

7) C: Raqqa serves as an ISIS stronghold.

8) A: Although Netanyahu would have you believe otherwise, Hamas and ISIS are not the same thing, and have engaged in a great deal of combat in Syria.

9) C: Hamas members trained members of the Syrian revolution, and many have fought openly with various parts of the resistance. This has given them a lot of support from Qatar and Turkey, but cost them numerous weapons deals from Iran, which decided to give newer rockets to an organization called Islamic Jihad. However, as of the current situation, Iran and Hamas have agreed to disagree over Syria and Yemen, and now Hamas and Islamic Jihad work in coordination with each other.

10) A: Although ISIS kills brutality, the Assad regime through its bombings is able to kill far more civilians than ISIS could ever imagine. According to Syrian Network for Human Rights, Assad is responsible for 85 percent of civilian casualties while “extremist factions” are responsible for seven percent.

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    Gordon RobertsonSep 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.