The crisis in Syria began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963. Over the past two years the crisis has escalated into a major civil war resulting in the deaths of over 100,000 people, and on August 21 2013, the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. The chemical attack resulted in the death of over 400 children and was the largest chemical weapons attack this century, prompting calls for international intervention.