Ten years ago, hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding social and economic reforms.
The Assad family had, by then, ruled Syria with an iron fist for 40 years.
The wave of protests quickly morphed into a civil war that has, to date, killed as many as 600,000 civilians and fighters, while an estimated 13 million were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries and around the world.
Syria has been a messy battleground.
Although the conflict started as a civil war, it has become much more than that.
It’s a proxy war that has divided much of the Middle East and the world, pitted regional and global powers against each other, and seen the creation of many alliances.
The country is fragmented into several areas under the control of different groups and powers.
To help understand why the conflict has lasted so long, this explainer looks at who controls what part of the war-torn country.