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Refugee Council of Australia
Black and white photo of Syrian children

Key facts on the conflict in Syria and Iraq

What is happening in Iraq?

In Iraq, sectarian violence has continued since Saddam Hussein was removed in 2003. This conflict became worse after US forces left Iraq in December 2011. In 2014 Islamic State gained power in Iraq, and soon spread throughout Syria.

An international coalition, including the US, formed to fight Islamic State. This helped the Iraqi government recapture its territory. Islamic State lost its last territory in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019. It has continued to attack, kidnap and people in rural areas, but in recent months has been making a comeback.

Timeline (Wilson Center)

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