Who's Fighting Whom in Syria

The Syrian civil war involves multiple countries with overlapping and at times conflicting agendas. Despite U.N. meetings and diplomatic maneuvering, the crisis has only intensified. Here is where some of the main foreign actors stand. Read more here: http://nyti.ms/1MUCWdH
  1. United States
    BACKS: More moderate elements among the rebel forces in Syria. OPPOSES: The government of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the Islamic State and other Islamic extremist groups.
  2. Russia
    BACKS: Bashar al-Assad, the leader of Syria, which has been Russia’s only persistent ally in the Middle East for decades. OPPOSES: The Islamic State, which several thousand young Russians have joined. Russia says it fears a so-called blowback of militants coming home to carry out attacks. But Western nations question whether Russia uses that as cover to counter any threat to Mr. Assad’s rule.
  3. Turkey
    BACKS: The United States-backed coalition and, tacitly, rebel forces in Syria. OPPOSES: Principally the Assad government and Kurdish groups allied with the P.K.K., an insurgent group active in Turkey; nominally, also the Islamic State.
  4. Iran
    BACKS: Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government. Iran is Syria’s staunchest ally and has been providing military support, weapons, supplies and financial aid since the start of the civil war. OPPOSES: Sunni insurgents, the Islamic State and other Sunni extremists.
  5. Saudi Arabia
    BACKS: A number of rebel groups fighting the Syrian government. OPPOSES: Assad and the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that there are no circumstances in which his country would accept a Russian effort to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.
  6. Qatar
    BACKS: A number of rebel groups fighting the Syrian government. Qatar has bankrolled rebels and supplied them with weapons and training. OPPOSES: Assad and the Syrian government.
  7. Britain
    BACKS: More moderate elements among the rebel forces in Syria. OPPOSES: The Assad government, the Islamic State and other Islamic extremist groups. Because of strong opposition in Parliament to military intervention in Syria, Britain has so far focused mainly on coalition airstrikes in Iraq.
  8. France
    BACKS: More moderate elements among the rebel forces in Syria. OPPOSES: The Assad government, the Islamic State and other Islamic extremist groups. France has expanded participation in airstrikes but has ruled out ground intervention.