It seems like everyone has been trying to exact a pound of flesh in Syria during the long civil war that has lasted nine years. With the Islamic State making inroads into establishing a caliphate in the power vacuum as well as rebels trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the entire situation has gotten murkier.

Syria’s government was on the precipice of failing, even with the help of its long-time ally Russia. The United States moved troops into the country, uninvited, to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and to counter the Islamic State. In October, some of these troops conducted a historic operation that killed the leader of ISIS. The Iranians moved troops in and raised, trained, equipped and led militias. The Turkish military moved in after the humanitarian crisis became too much for them to handle with nearly four million refugees flooding their territory. And then there is Israel.

The Israelis made it clear that they will not tolerate any Iranian bases on their border. And with the Iranians setting up shop close to the Golan Heights, Israel has conducted numerous airstrikes on both Iranian-led militias, training sites, weapons depots, and Syrian air defense units that have fired on their aircraft.

The above situation is an eclectic mix that lately has shown signs of exploding into chaos. And the civilians, caught in the middle, are the ones who are paying the price.