Having scoured as much as I can and tried to reduce to hardly anything, this is what it appears to be. Cannot even think about how it has now developed and therefore not about to even consider unravelling. In fact ,it is probably completely above our heads anyway.
This is how it seems :
A country of turbulence since the second world war. An independent republic in 1946 .Democratic rule ended in 1949 with coup followed by coup d'e tat and yet another coup . Instability has obviously gone on for years .
So far as i can make out, after President Hafez al-Assad rule from 1971 to his death in 2000, when his son Bashar al-Assad the present President of Syria took the helm, not much had changed in all those years. Bashar al-Assad attempted to bring about a form of democracy, but there were secret meetings of political forums going on in private houses between various political activists followed by the Damascus Spring in 2001 when 10 political activists were arrested and imprisoned after a call for democracy and civil disobedience.
Certain reformists in Parlaiment were getting fed up as change was not happening and President Bashar al-Assad had failed to deliver on his promises.
The people in the poorest areas in Syria were becoming discontent with drought and poverty. Mainly conservative Sunni's areas. By 2011 Syria was facing high youth unemployment, as well as rises in living costs and deterioration of the standard of living.
Human Rights were also questionable. No freedom of speech , torture, poor prison conditions etc.
In 2004 riots took place in the Syrian Kurdish areas due to the fact that since 1969 the Kurdish Syrian had never been given citizenship .
So it looks as if the split in the different ethinic groups were starting then.
In 2010, there had been the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt which encouraged the protests in Syria in 2011.
Protest demands such as releasing all political prisoners were obviously not going to be met.
April 8th 2011 protests had taken place in 10 cities
April 22nd same in 20 cities
April 25th the Syrian Army started a series of large-scale deadly military attacks on towns, using tanks, infantry carriers, and artillery, leading to hundreds of civilian deaths. By the end of May 2011, 1,000 civilians and 150 soldiers and policemen had been killed and thousands detained among the arrested were many students, liberal activists and human rights advocates.
Iraq and others had lost control of their borders and what happened next ......well all hell let loose.
Basically it would appear that President Bashir al-Assad was no fit person to take the roll on board and he certainly doesn't want to give it up now either.
After disecting a lot of information about this, and admittedly done some copy and pasting , rather than re-typing everything , this maybe a fairly simple summary but there is no doubt that the Iraq war was the de stabilizing influence in Syria and other regions, but I blame the Germans
I'm still not sure if Al Qaeda were wanting the same end or if they were just promoting hate and wanting to take revenge on the West, in particular the Americans. Of course they are still in the equation, just attached to different groups now.
Just shows how political unrest can cause such a dreadful situation when a government looses control and other extreme groups move in once weakness shows.
Does any of this make sense ? Damn it, I do try hard and hoping Venice and Collette-Clarke can dispose of the anadin now.
Good luck !