"The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia's military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year. The Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern and central Syria, from which it continues to launch assaults on forces opposed to and aligned with the government of President Bashar al Asad. Meanwhile, fighting elsewhere pits government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom have received limited U.S. assistance. […] Anti-Asad armed forces and their activist counterparts have improved their coordination in some cases and share antipathy toward Russia's intervention, but they remain divided over tactics, strategy, and their long-term political goals. Powerful Islamist forces seek outcomes that are contrary in significant ways to stated U.S. preferences for Syria's political future. The United Nations Security Council has endorsed new efforts at negotiation and has created a new body empowered to assign responsibility for the use of chemicals as a weapon of war in Syria. The 114th Congress is now considering proposed appropriations (H.R. 2685, S. 1558, and H.R. 2772) and authorization legislation (H.R. 1735) related to Syria. For more information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report R43727, 'Train and Equip Program for Syria: Authorities,Funding, and Issues for Congress,' by Christopher M. Blanchard and Amy Belasco, and CRS Report R43612, 'The 'Islamic State' Crisis and U.S. Policy', by Christopher M. Blanchard et al."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33487
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html