Farmers ride in their tractor in the drought-hit region of Hasaka in northeastern Syria on June 17, 2010. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributions of emergency food assistance to almost 200,000 drought-affected people in Syria.
There are many factors that led up to the unrest in Syria: political, religious, and maybe some environmental reasons, too.
Over the last decade, Syria has been gripped by severe drought. A 2009 United Nations report found that more than 800,000 Syrian farmers had been forced off their land and into cities because of a lack of water.
Recently released satellite images of the region from NASA highlight just how dry Syria has become.
That has prompted political scientists to consider the environmental factors that may have contributed to the beginnings of this current conflict.
For more on the drought, we're joined now by hydrologist James Famiglietti, director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling.