23 August, 2013

Syria Civil War Map: August 2013 (#11)

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Syria updates.

Syria's civil war has continued to rage through the summer, with small changes in territorial control and the area of fighting. Here's the updated conflict map, plus a summary of recent territorial changes and other developments.

Map of fighting and territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army rebels, Kurdish groups, Al-Nusra Front and others), updated for August 2013. Includes recent locations of conflict and territorial control changes, including Salma (Latakia), Nawa (Daraa), and Ras al-Ayn (Hasakah).
Area of fighting and territorial control in Syria's civil war, updated for August 2013. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this blank map by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest. License: CC BY-SA
Latest Fronts
Over the last two months since our previous Syria war map, fighting increased in three different corners of the country. In the northwest, rebels pushed farther into the coastal province of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad and his native Alawite ethnic group. The rebel forces captured and briefly held several Alawite villages in the mountains before being pushed back to their base in Salma.

Meanwhile, fighting has heated up in the already contested Daraa province of southwestern Syria. Most notably, the rebels stormed the major town of Nawa in July, before losing it to the Syrian army again this month. In the country's opposite corner, the far northeastern province of Hasakah, Kurdish militias finally seized full control of Serekani (Arabic name: Ras al-Ayn) from religious extremist rebels who had been fighting for the town since last year. Apparently in response, the extremists have pushed farther into Kurdish territory elsewhere in the province.

Flag of Syria under the current government Country Name:  
• Syria (English)
• Sūriyya/Sūryā (Arabic)
Official Name:  
• Syrian Arab Republic (English)
• al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah  as-Sūriyyah (Arabic)
Capital: Damascus
Fighting in Major Cities
Syria's three largest cities have remained battlefields over the past months, with number-one metropolis Aleppo still bitterly divided between the government, the rebels, and Kurdish groups. The Syrian army has made further inroads into Homs, and now controls most but not all of the key central city.

While central Damascus remains mostly out of reach for the rebels, fierce battles have continued to be waged over the capital city's many suburbs (see a map of rebel and government control in the city from two weeks ago).

Broad Trends
An expert quoted in a New York Times article last month estimated that Syria's rebel groups now control 60-70% of the country's land, but only 40% of the population, due to their greater success at controlling rural areas than holding major cities.

Meanwhile, the opposition remains as disorganized as ever, having proved unable to form a national-level interim government for the rebel-held areas. But the starkest sign of disunity between the various anti-Assad groups has been the breakout of major fighting between the secular-minded Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels and the religious extremists of the Nusra Front and the ISIS ("Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"). The latter groups have emerged as the strongest rebel force in many areas of Syria, driving the FSA out of Raqqah city as part of their rise in power across the country's north and east.

Small Adjustments
This edition of the map returns to showing Ariha, a major town in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib whose status had been unclear for many months. Recent reports indicate that it is divided between rebel and government control. In central Syria, the war has now reached the previously peaceful city of Salamiya, which was shelled by rebel forces two weeks ago.

Similar Articles:
Syria Civil War Map: June 2013 (#10)
Mali Conflict Map: National Territory Reunited
War in Somalia: Map of Al Shabaab Control

Graphic of the Syrian flag is in the public domain (source).


  1. Last year, most of the action was in Aleppo and Homs, and minor conflicts happening outside of Damascus, Quasyr, and the border of northeastern Syria. But i think the future of northern syria, it will be become a terrorist haven... the new Somali in essence.

  2. Ariha is now under the rebel control !!


  3. I noticed a change in the wording, now it is "Contested Area" instead of "Area of armed rebel activity". Why? Is there a special explanation for this? Does "contested area" describe the situation better?

    1. Good question! We got several complaints that the red-shaded "area of armed rebel activity" was incorrectly implying that the whole area was under rebel control or strong influence, when actually it was just intended to show the reach of fighting and rebel efforts in general. I decided to try changing the label and the color to make sure the shading isn't associated in any way with actual rebel control. The methodology hasn't changed.

    2. it will be nice if You can publish Damascus area too on separate map

  4. another style http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22798391

    1. Yes, I've seen that map to, and I think it's very interesting. I've avoided trying to color regions on my map so far because the situation is so complicated that it doesn't actually represent the data that much better than showing the individual towns. That BBC map does an okay job though, by adding so much detail to the boundaries of the shaded areas.

  5. I've been following the civil war in the news and I've noticed that there's a lot of fighting now between the different rebel groups, mainly between Al Nusra and The FSA. Because they're fighting each other they're now on different sides on the conflict. You don't group the kurds in with the other anti-assad rebels so why do you group all the other rebels together. All of them have different goals and ideas and hate each other as much as they hate Assad, so why don't you show which major rebel groups control what areas?

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it would be better to separate the various rebel groups, or at least the FSA and other groups vs. Al Nusra and the ISIS. However, these different groups are not as much on "different sides" as you imply. They still seem to be work together (or at least in parallel) more often then they conflict with each other, and it's relatively difficult to find data on which group controls which place. This is especially true considering that until recently all these groups were clearly acting as allies. I'm continuing to look into the possibility of showing them separately, but until now that hasn't been practical.

  6. thanks a lot these informations Evan . Do you know kurds muslims groups support islamic rebels or asad's regime? I hope we will see new maps about syria conflict

    1. I haven't heard much of anything about Kurdish Islamist groups, if that's what you mean. That's a good question. Note though that most Kurds are Muslims, including most of the ones involved in the Kurdish militias on the map. It seems that for the majority of those active in the war, ethnolinguistic identity is a bigger issue than religion.

    2. Kurds are fighting along side with the regime against rebels !

    3. A common claim, but unsubstantiated. The major Kurdish groups say they oppose the government, and most of their conflict with Arab rebels has involved stopping Al-Nusra extremists from taking over towns already held by Kurds.

  7. Syrian conflict is totally American-cum-Israeli sponsored rebellion and in continuation of world power's designs regarding greater Israel.may MAULA help bashar-al Assad in his ambitions. INSHAHALLAH .ELLAHI AMEN.