Starting in March 2011, Syria faced a series of public outbursts against President Bashar al-Assad that turned increasingly violent. Syria’s neighbor Iraq immediately became concerned over those turn of events. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and many Shiite parties in Iraq were afraid that Sunni militants would take power if the Syrian government fell, so they started providing diplomatic support as well as sending fighters to Damascus’ aid. At the same time, Al Qaeda in Iraq saw an opportunity to take advantage of the growing chaos next door, smugglers thought that they could make a quick buck selling weapons to the Syrian opposition, and some tribes that straddled the border felt that they had to help out their compatriots. This is a dramatic turn of events as Syria use to be the source for foreign fighters and other militants infiltrating into Iraq to sow chaos, but now the tables are turned, and various Iraqi groups are going into Syria to assist both sides in the growing conflict there.

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