The ongoing conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers, primarily between the US and Russia as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Map of states with military/paramilitary forces deployed in Syria. Syria States supporting the Syrian government with troops in Syria States with a militia supporting the Syrian government in Syria States supporting Syrian rebels or a non-government faction with troops in Syria
Local, regional and international actors involved in the Syrian civil war.
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War refers to political, military and operational support to parties involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria that began in March 2011, as well as active foreign involvement. Most parties involved in the war in Syria receive various types of support from foreign countries and entities based outside Syria. The ongoing conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers, primarily between the US and Russia as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The Syrian Ba’athist government is politically and militarily supported by Iran and Russia, actively supported by Lebanese Hezbollah party and by Syrian-based Palestinian group PFLP-GC and others. Since 30 September 2015, Russia, the only foreign power that has its military assets openly and legally stationed in Syria, wages an intensive air campaign against ISIL and other anti-government forces in Syria, on the side and at the request of the Syrian government. The military activity of Russia in Syria has been criticized by the US and its regional allies; Turkey overtly clashed with the Russian military in November 2015 over the alleged violation of its airspace by a Russian plane as well as over Russia′s bombardment of the areas held by anti-government forces that are supported by Turkey, especially in the Bayırbucak region.
The Syrian opposition, politically represented by the Syrian National Coalition, receives financial, logistical, political and in some cases military support from major Sunni states in the Middle East allied with the U.S., most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. From early stages of the civil conflict in Syria, major Western countries such as the U.S, France, and the UK provide political, military and logistic support to the opposition as well as rebel groups in Syria that are not designated by them as terrorist. Since July 2015, Turkey also openly counters by military means further expansion of the Syrian Kurdish forces along its border and has created a buffer zone within Syrian territory.
The predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main armed service of the Executive Council (Rojava), the government of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), have received military and logistic support from Iraqi Kurdistan and air support by U.S., Canada, British and French air force.
The Salafi jihadist groups are partially supported by Turkey, while the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant received support from several non-state groups and organizations from across the Muslim World.
As a significant part of Syria′s territory was from 2014 until October 2017 claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an entity internationally recognised as terrorist, a number of Western and other countries, most notably the U.S., Russia, Britain, and France, have participated in direct military action against ISIL in the territory of Syria.