Syria crisis: what's going to happen next?
- 30 August 2013
We asked you to send us your questions about Syria and the international crisis that's dominating the headlines.
Now the BBC's Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner - who knows a lot about what's happening in Syria right now - has answered some of your questions in the clip and we've summarised what he says below.
Q. Could this turn into WW3?
Frank says: No, I don't think it is. In fact I think the real reason why Britain and other countries like America haven't got involved so far is that they don't want to upset the Russians. [Russia has long been a supporter of Syria and its president Bashar al-Assad.]
The British and American governments are saying: "OK we care about what's happening in Syria - but are we prepared to go to war with Russia over this? No."
So they've kept out of this up until now.
Q. Are we going to be bombed in the UK?
Frank says: I don't think we're going to be bombed.
We've had the vote in parliament so it doesn't look like Britain's going to get involved militarily. Syria doesn't have the capability to start launching missiles and firing stuff at Britain.
The most dangerous thing you and I do, in this country, is to cross the road. We've more chance of being knocked over by a bus than coming into conflict with a Syrian bomb.
Q. Where are these chemical weapons coming from?
Frank says: Syria makes its own chemical weapons - initially they got some of the chemical formulas from Russia, but they make their own stocks of mustard gas and sarin.
These awful chemicals were banned in 1925 after the First World War - thousands died, choking, in the trenches and people said: "Never again." Syria never signed up to that treaty so they make their own.
Britain and America don't make chemical weapons; Syria does.
Q. What happens if Britain doesn't send troops - but America does?
Frank says: No-one was ever going to send troops.
If there is going to be a Western military response, and by that I mean America, to what they think the Syrian government has done to its own people, then they're talking about launching missiles from ships out in the Mediterranean Sea, that would fly for hundreds of miles away and hit military targets in Syria. They'll try to avoid hitting civilian targets but inevitably some get hit.
Because of Thursday's vote in the House of Commons, it looks like America's going to do this militarily, if they do it, without Britain.
It's weird - this'll be the first time in nearly 20 years that America's undertaken a big military operation without Britain.
You can imagine David Cameron and his cabinet, they're like, "We want to get involved, we want to do it". But MPs have voted against it, and David Cameron's said "I get it - you don't want to go to war, I get it".
Q. How long will it take for Syria's war to be over and for life to be normal again?
Frank says: It's going to take a long time. It's been going for two-and-a-half years and the more people that are killed, the more angry people get, the more they want revenge.
It's going to take ten years at least for that country to be stable again.
But I often say this to people about the Middle East: it's not all bombs and flag burnings, angry people chanting and shaking their fist. Although terrible things are happening in Syria, and children are suffering , and it's an awful situation there, most of the Middle East is living its life peacefully.
They want the same things we do: they want to go to school in peace, come home, food on the table, watch TV, play with their friends, and go and have a nice life. They're not all about violence.
But we have to show the most dramatic things, the most important things happening - and sadly a lot of those things are violent.