On April 8, 2016 Unicorn Booty reported: When Syrian citizens rose up against their President Bashar al-Assad during the 2011 Arab Spring protestors, he swiftly crushed them using the country’s military. His actions sparked a civil war full of kidnapping, torture and mass slaughter that has been happening ever since.
Though you can read a more in-depth explainer of the Syrian civil war, here’s our quick version: on one side are Assad, the Syrian army, Assad’s supporters, Iranian Hezbollah fighters and Russian military and on the other are anti-Assad rebel opposition fighters, an organized militia called the Free Syria Army and a Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda. In between are countless Syrian citizens — so far, more than 470,000 have died and more than four million have fled the country as refugees.
Former President Barack Obama said that U.S. military forces would intervene if Assad ever used chemical weapons against his citizens. Then on Aug. 21, 2013, Assad did, killing up to 1,423 people. The U.S. hesitated, instead accepting a deal brokered by Russia for Assad to give up his chemical weapons and submit to international inspections. But when Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his citizens a second time on Apr. 4, 2017, President Donald Trump responded by attacking the Syrian airbase that launched the chemical attack, a largely symbolic move that did not stop the airbase from operating a few days after.
While it’s unclear whether the U.S. military will intervene any further, a little over a month ago, Trump closed U.S. borders to Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country. So we wanted to take this moment to highlight the stories of three gay Syrian refugees — homosexuality in Syria can get you imprisoned by the government or killed by religious extremists. You can click on their names to learn more.