Special Report

13 Major Wars Happening Right Now Around the World

Source: Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

8. Syrian Civil War
> Type of conflict: Civil War
> Start date: Mar 15, 2011
> Forces currently involved: Syria, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, Syrian Salvation Government, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Maghaweir al-Thowra
> Continent: Asia

What began as a largely secular civil uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 has descended into a chaotic combination of civil war with an Islamist militant insurgency. The presence of pro-Kurdish rebels in Syria has pulled Turkey into the conflict. Furthermore, Russia supports Assad.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and created 12 million outbound refugees and internally displaced people. In January, three kamikaze drones attacked a U.S. coalition base in Al Tanf, near the border with Jordan and Iraq, injuring two Syrian opposition fighters.

7. Mali War
> Type of conflict: Terrorist insurgency
> Start date: Jan 16, 2012
> Forces currently involved: Mali, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram
> Continent: Africa

Armed conflict in Mali surged in 2012 after the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a separatist group composed of ethnic Tuareg people, initiated a rebellion in the north, the same year President Amadou Toumani Toure was deposed in a military coup.

The MNLA was initially partnered with Islamist militants, including al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb, but the alliance quickly crumbled after the Islamists imposed their harsh interpretations of Islamic law and destroyed shrines in Timbuktu and Gao. In January, Mali’s military junta that is battling the rebels demanded that French troops who have been helping the government fight the Islamicists leave the country within a month.

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images News via Getty Images

6. Instability in Pakistan
> Type of conflict: Terrorist insurgency
> Start date: Jun 15, 2014
> Forces currently involved: Pakistan, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan
> Continent: Asia

The year 2014 was a particularly volatile one in a country known for its instability. It included a rash of sectarian attacks, military operations in the southwestern province of North Waziristan, raging political protests in Islamabad, and floods in Singh and Punjab provinces.

The country of 231 million continues to be ravaged by an economic crisis, exacerbated by the cleanup of the massive flooding last year, and political instability following the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. The country entered 2023 with an ongoing struggle against violent attacks on religious minorities, an overwhelmed electrical grid, and Taliban terrorists emboldened by the group’s recent takeover of the Afghanistan government.

Source: Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Yemeni Civil War
> Type of conflict: Civil War
> Start date: Sep 16, 2014
> Forces currently involved: Government of Yemen, Houthis-led Supreme Political Council, Pro-Hadi/Alimi Security forces, Yemen National Army, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and non-aligned tribal forces
> Continent: Asia

For the past eight years, one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world has been the stage for a proxy war between a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Saudis support the internationally recognized government of Rashad al-Alimi, who became the country’s president in 2022, a role claimed by Mahdi al-Mashat, the head of the Houthis Supreme Political Council. The war has displaced millions of people, and led to outbreaks of infectious diseases, a shortage of health services, and famine.

Source: Nava Jamshidi / Getty Images

4. Afghanistan Conflict
> Type of conflict: Terrorist insurgency
> Start date: Feb 2, 2015
> Forces currently involved: Afghanistan, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State
> Continent: Asia

In accordance with the Doha Agreement of 2020 between the U.S. and the Taliban, the U.S. ended its war in Afghanistan officially in August 2021 with the complete withdrawal of its troops that had been fighting there for two decades. Weeks before the pullout, the Taliban swept into the capital city of Kabul, forcing Afghan President Ashrafi Ghani to flee to exile in the United Arab Emirates.

Though the U.S. war in Afghanistan ended, the Taliban’s consolidation of power and the presence of Islamic State in Khorasan have led to a humanitarian crisis.Insurgents attacks targeting civilians and ongoing internal instability continues to wreak the country.

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