Assad has managed to cling to power thanks to a brutal scorched earth campaign on Syrian rebel groups and civilians, with the help of Russian warplanes and Iranian proxy militias.
The embattled president’s rise to power was initially met with optimism in the west, where it was believed the younger Assad would not rule with as heavy a hand as his father. But when protests inspired by the Arab Spring broke out in 2011, Assad responded with force.
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Featured image courtesy of Reuters
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