With speculation growing over the nature of U.S. response to the Syrian conflict that has now taken an estimated 100,000 lives, this map shows exactly where the U.S. might attack. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke from the White House on Friday afternoon to reaffirm U.S. commitment to respond to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of the nerve agent sarin gas against civilians. Kerry described a "limited and tailored response" to Assad that "will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, to Iraq or even Libya" and will involve no boots on the ground.
President Obama emerged briefly in a meeting with Baltic leaders on Friday to name Assad's purported use of chemical weapons "a challenge to the world," but has not yet indicated the details of a response. Here is everything you need to know about the area we may attack.
Airships denote possible locations for attack (Source: Washington Post)
Need to Know Facts About the Area
Damascus is the capital and second largest city in Syria and is home to state administrative offices. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 2.6 million people and has a rich history dating back to the second millennium BC. The city and its suburbs were the site of a chemical weapons attack early in the morning on August 21 killing at least 1,429 Syrians including 426 children.
Aleppo is Syria's largest city and is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Once the end of the silk road, Aleppo developed into a bustling cultural center in modern day. It is home to a large population of Christians. It has been the site of growing violence, including an attack on a child's playground involving a "napalm-like bomb" this week.
Homs is a major industrial city in western Syria with a population of at least 652,600 residents. It has been the site of large anti-government protests and violence since 2011. Some estimate as many as 2,000 Syrians have died in conflict in Homs alone.
Syria is located in the Middle East bordering Lebanon on the west, Turkey on the north, Iraq on the east, Jordan on the south, and Israel to the southwest.
Turkey shares Syria's longest common border, and is home to the U.S. Air Force base, Incirlik Air Base. The base has been used for reconnaissance missions in the past, and has provided support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lebanon and Jordan have been the two largest recipients of Syrian refugees during the crisis, home to an estimated 587,795 and 498,947 refugees respectively. There are an estimated 1,750,075 total refugees spilling into the region, many living in squalor lacking necessary medicine, sanitation, and nutritional supplies.
Syria Should Not Be Like Another Iraq (Policymic)
In Syria, U.S. Credibility At Stake (Washington Post)
The Case For Intervention (The Atlantic)
How Syria Action Risks Unsettling The Fragile Middle East (Independent UK)