Student Resources

Global Understanding Workshops

Workshop 1 Actions

Workshop 2 Actions

Workshop 3 Actions

Workshop 4 Actions

Workshop 5 Actions

Workshop 6 Actions

Workshop 7 Actions


Simulation Actors (2016)


European Union




Rebel Group – Free Syrian Army

Rebel Group – Islamist

Rebel Group – Salafi


Saudi Arabia

Syrian Kurdish Militia

Syrian Population


Western Powers


2016 Play Timeline – Key Conflict Milestones by Round

Round 1 : 2012 : Proxy War (internal conflict)

Round 2 : 2013 : Great Powers Dispute (US/Russia)

Round 3 : 2014 : Global Crisis (outside region: Turkey/Jordan/ISIS/refugee crisis).  


Overview of the Syria Crisis

1. By: Lara Setrakian, Syria Deeply

2. Syria’s War: A Five Minute History by Ezra Klein


Chronology of Major Events

 —— R O U N D #1 ——

Proxy War: Day of Rage through Late 2012


  • April 29: President Assad’s forces kill protesters in the “Day of Rage”
  • May 18 & 23: President Obama and then the EU impose sanctions on Syria’s leader, President Bashar al-Assad, and six other senior Syrian officials.  In Spring EU imposes arms embargo.
  • June 14: Arab League condemns Syrian government violent crackdown
  • August 8: First real calls for regime change: US, France, Germany, and Britain call for Assad’s resignation, Canada then does, too and Switzerland recalls its ambassador
  • September 21: Turkey’s prime minister announces he has cut all contacts with Syria
  • October 3: Opposition groups form Syrian National Council, based in Turkey, pledge to overthrow President Bashar al-Asaad
  • November 12: Syria is suspended from Arab League
  • December 13: UN reports that 5,000+ people killed in Syrian conflict
  • December 30: Arab League monitors protest by approximately 500,000 people
  • End of 2011: Jabhat Al Nusra formed at the behst of the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi)


  • February 16: UN General Assembly passes non-binding resolution calling for Assad’s resignation
  • April 12: Kofi Annan negotiates UN ceasefire that takes effect, but violated by both sides
  • Massacres of civilians throughout spring and summer, including near Homs in May
  • June 12: UN Undersecretary for Peacekeeping Operations labels crisis a full-scale civil war
  • July: Assad refuses to step down as the elected president, confident that loyalist forces will prevail
  • October: The United States sends troops to the Jordan-Syria border to help support Jordan’s military capabilities in the event that the violence spreads.  Hezbollah increases direct support to Assad
  • December: US joins Britain, France, Turkey and Gulf states in formally recognizing Syria’s opposition National Coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people
  • Late 2012: Saudi Arabia begins to send financial aid to the Syrian rebels

Arab League Approves Sanctions:

Links to Articles:

Barbara Walters interviews Assad on ABC News

Peace Plan

Syrian National Council on Facebook

Arab League Actions

Guide to Sanctions (November 2011)

—— R O U N D #2 ——

Great Powers Dispute (2013- mid-2014)




  • January 6: Assad gives speech in Damascus outlining plan to expand efforts to fight terrorist violence
  • February 13: Russia vows to continue sending weapons to Syria, including anti-missile air defense systems
  • March 7: Number of Syrian refugees counted at 1 million by UN–a number equal to about 5% of the total population of Syria
  • March 19-20: More chemical weapons attacks reported in Aleppo and Damascus.  The government claimed they were used by opposition forces, President Obama called them a “game changer”
  • July 15: Red Cross labeled it a civil war, making the Geneva conventions apply, including the right of parties to use appropriate force to achieve aims, but not kill civilians or detainees, which can be war crimes
  • July 30: Iran grants Syria $3.6 billion credit line in exchange for right to invest in the country
  • August 3: A UN General Assembly resolution demands that President Assad resign
  • August: High-level defections of Syrian leaders gather pace
  • August: EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy pushes for investigation of use of chemical weapons by Assad regime
  • August 14: Assad agreed to allow UN inspectors into Syria to investigate possible use of chemical weapons
  • September 16: Iran confirms that its Revolutionary Guards are helping Assad
  • Syrian National Coalition worked over period of time to support FSA with a 800M loan package for rebels
  • October: conflict spills over into Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan
  • November 11: Opposition groups unite and elect a moderate cleric to lead a new coalition


  • January 7: Syria delivers first load of chemical weapons to be destroyed
  • February: Peacetalks in Geneva were led by a mediator for the UN-Arab League and end in failure
  • June 3: Presidential elections held in areas under government control–Assad wins with almost 89% of the vote

Links to Articles:

Red Cross Declares Syrian Conflict a Civil War

Battle of Aleppo at 6 Months: Battle for Syrian City Lays Both Sides’ Weaknesses Bare

CNN: Is Syria in a Civil War?

Reuters: Syria in Civil War, UN Official Says

Daily Telegraph: Refugee Crisis (Video)

Syria’s Shocking Civilian Death Toll

With Eye on Aid, Syria Opposition Signs Unity Deal

Syrian Government Finally Forms Unified Coalition

Syria Chemical Weapons: Opposition Reports

Conflict Moves into UN DMZ in Golan Heights

FSA Soldiers Launch Attack into Israeli Territory

Does Syria Face a Genocidal Future

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Fuel Tensions

France and Britain Confirm Use of Sarin Gas

Assad’s Solution to Syrin Conflict: Striking “Terror with Iron Fist”


—— R O U N D #3 ——

ISIS and the Refugee Crisis:
Mid 2014 to the Present

Thousands Flee Aleppo: February 5, 2016


  • June 29: ISIS announces that a caliphate is established and claims dominion over all Muslims worldwide
  • September 10: The U.S. president vows to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, though promises not to send troops
  • September 19: Seige of Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane begins, it will last for four months and result in more than 130,000 refugees fleeing to Turkey
  • September 22: US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Jordan begin first airstrikes in Syria


  • January 26: Kurdish fighters are able to regain control of Kobane with help from U.S. airstrikes
  • February: After Jordanian Pilot Moaz al Kasasbe was burned to death by ISIS, airstrikes were conducted against training facilities and weapon­ storage sites used by the Islamic State.
  • Summer: Record numbers of refugees reach the borders of the EU
  • September: Assad blames Western nations, especially Europe, for fueling the refugee crisis by supporting the rebel groups.  Several EU nations open their borders to thousands of incoming refugees, particularly Germany and Sweden
  • September 30: Russia begins airstrikes against terrorists.  Claims to target ISIS, US and others claim that they target anti-Assad forces
  • October: Russia and Jordan agree to coordinate their military operations in Syria, including air strikes.  Jordan benefits from the protection that this gives to groups in supports in Syria from Russian airstrikes

Links to Articles:

Jordan Video of Aistrikes Against ISIS

BBC: The Migrant Crisis Explained in Graphics

Saudi Arabia Willing to Send Troops to Syria




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *