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Syrian civil war enters third year of conflict (PHOTOS)
Friday, March 15th, 2013

On March 15, it will have been exactly two years since a string of protests galvanized by the Arab Spring hit Syria.

Since then, the Syrian civil war has claimed nearly 70,000 lives as rebels try to dislodge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

What started as peaceful protests for democratic reform and legal transparency quickly escalated as government forces cracked down on protesters with brutal force, intensifying opposition as reports of tortured and killed civilians spread throughout the country.

As Assad’s army engages in bombing and artillery strikes that directly target civilian zones, governments around the world have wrestled with different plans for supporting Syria’s insurgents.

Though major powers like the United States and Saudi Arabia have provided financial and humanitarian aid since the conflict began, nations like France and Britain have been pushing for directly supporting the insurgency’s military operations through weapons shipments and training.

However, while foreign powers debate how to support the Syrian rebels, the fighting continues to intensify.

More from GlobalPost: As Syria's civil war enters 3rd year, European Union arms embargo still stands

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Syrian refugees shout slogans during a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Feb. 22, 2013. Refugees called for the international community to arm the rebel Free Syrian Army.

(Khalil Mazraawi - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrian emergency personnel gather next to the scene of an explosion in Aleppo on Jan. 18, 2013. Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub and the country's largest city, has been beset by violence since rebels launched an assault on the city in July 2012.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian girl rides her bicycle in an almost deserted street in the Teshrin neighborhood of Damascus on Jan. 3, 2013. As the Syrian Civil War draws closer to its third anniversary, the fighting between the Assad regime and Syrian rebels has escalated.

(Omar Al-Khani - AFP/Getty Images)
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A group of men take a break to prey en route to their positions for a mission against seven government checkpoints surrounding Idlib, Syria.

(Tracey Shelton - GlobalPost)
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A December 2, 2012 file picture shows the Dar Al-Shifa hospital in the northern city of Aleppo after part of it was bombed by a regime aircraft in November. Syria's conflict is mired in stalemate, with President Bashar al-Assad's forces defending Damascus and territory in the west and centre while rebels control the north and east, with neither able to make major advances.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrian rebels celebrate on top of the remains of a Syrian government fighter jet which was shot down at Daret Ezza, on the border between the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, on November 28, 2012. Syrian rebels captured a pilot manning the fighter jet downed over Daret Ezza in the northern province of Aleppo, witnesses told an AFP reporter in the town.

(FRANCISCO LEONG - AFP/Getty Images)
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A father holds his nine year-old son, wounded by shrapnel, outside the field hospitalon November 19, 2012, in the town of Maaret Al-Numan in southern Idlib province.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Smoke billows from burning tyres as a Syrian rebel of the Halab al-Shabah battalion under Al-Tawhid brigade fires towards regime forces during clashes in Al-Amariya district of the northern city of Aleppo on November 13, 2012.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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The feet of an unidentified corpse lie near a water canal following an assault by Syrian security forces in Idlib in northwestern Syria on February 18, 2012.

(BULENT KILIC - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrian children play on a destroyed tank in the city of Aleppo on October 7, 2012.

(TAUSEEF MUSTAFA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrians refugees are seen in a camp near the northern town of Azaz, on the border with Turkey, on October 5, 2012. Damascus' bloody crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad sparked an exodus of more than a million refugees, according to the UNHCR.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian family evacuates the Seif al-Dalwa neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on August 25, 2012 during fighting between rebel fighters and Syrian government forces.

(ARIS MESSINIS - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian boy receives treatment after he was wounded when shells, released by a helicopter from regime forces, hit his house in Syria's northern city of Aleppo, on August 24, 2012.

(ARIS MESSINIS - AFP/Getty Images)
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Fighters from the Free Syrian Army buy AK-47 bullets from a weapons seller in Idlib province on July 4, 2012.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrian children clap as they take part in an anti-government demonstration after friday prayers in the city of Binnish in Idlib province on June 29, 2012. Demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad took place in Aleppo, Daraa, Deir Ezzor, Idlib, Homs and Latakia provinces.

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A young Syrian boy with the Syrian reolutionary flag painted on his cheeks, stares at the camera during an anti-government demonstration after Friday prayers on June 29, 2012, in the rebel-controlled northern countryside city of Mareh.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrians wave national flags and portraits of President Bashar al-Assad as they rally in support of the regime on the first anniversary of the anti-regime revolt in Damascus on March 15, 2012. State television showed tens of thousands of people waving Syrian flags and Assad's portrait in squares in Damascus, the northern city of Aleppo, Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, Suweida to the south and Hasaka in the northeast.

(LOUAI BESHARA - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian boy looks at Muslim worshippers as they perform the weekly Friday prayers in Qusayr, 15 kms (nine miles) from Homs, on May 11, 2012. Tens of thousands of protesters defied Syrian army gunfire and took to the streets across the country as state TV said the army foiled a would-be suicide attack, a day after twin bombings in Damascus left scores dead.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche (C), head of the UN observers' advance team tours Duma, in the suburb of the capital Damascus, on May 5, 2012.

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A defected Syrian soldier, now a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), smokes a cigarette as he watches the news with comrades at a camp in the northern rebel stronghold of Idlib near the Turkish border on March 17, 2012.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian woman shouts and holds a picture of President Bashar al-Assad and a copy of the draft proposed constitution, that will be voted on in a referendum over the weekend, during a demonstration in support of the leader in Damascus on February 24, 2012.

(ANWAR AMRO - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Free Syrian Army fighters stands guard in Idlib, northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border, on February 20, 2012.

(BULENT KILIC - AFP/Getty Images)
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