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The Salvadoran Civil War was a conflict between the military-led government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front , a coalition or "umbrella organization" of five left-wing guerrilla groups. A coup on October 15, 1979, led to the killings of anti-coup protesters by the government as well as anti-disorder protesters by the guerrillas, and is widely seen as the tipping point toward civil war.

Salvadoran Civil War
Part of the Central American crisis and Cold War
Masakro-ĉe-Suchitoto-Salvadoro.jpg
A billboard serving as a reminder of one of many massacres that occurred during the Civil War in El Salvador. The Spanish inscription to the left reads in English: "They tore out the flower, but the roots are returning among us."
Date October 15, 1979 – January 16, 1992
(12 years, 3 months and 1 day)
Location El Salvador
Result

Chapultepec Peace Accords of 1992;

  • Dissolving of the Salvadoran military government by negotiated settlement
  • Restructuring of Salvadoran Armed Forces
  • National and Treasury Police are dissolved (new civilian-overseen police created)
  • FMLN becomes a political party, its combatants are exonerated
Belligerents

El Salvador Salvadoran military government
Paramilitary death squads
Supported by

 United States
 Israel
 Taiwan

FMLN (CRM)

Supported by

 Soviet Union
 Cuba
Nicaragua Nicaragua (1979-90)
 China
 Bulgaria
Commanders and leaders
El Salvador Roberto D'Aubuisson
El Salvador Álvaro Magaña
El Salvador José Guillermo García
El Salvador José Napoleón Duarte
El Salvador Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova
El Salvador Alfredo Cristiani
Schafik Handal
Joaquín Villalobos
Cayetano Carpio
Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Strength

9.850 (1980)
39.000-51.150(1985)

63.000-70.000(1992)

12.000-15.000 (1984)

6.000-15.000 (1985)

8.000-10.000 (1992)
Casualties and losses
7,000 dead 20,000 dead
70,000–80,000 (total dead); 8,000 disappeared; 550,000 internally displaced and 500,000 refugees in other countries

The Salvadoran Civil War was a conflict between the military-led government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition or "umbrella organization" of five left-wing guerrilla groups. A coup on October 15, 1979, led to the killings of anti-coup protesters by the government as well as anti-disorder protesters by the guerrillas, and is widely seen as the tipping point toward civil war.

By January 1980, the left-wing political organizations united to form the Coordinated Revolutionaries of the Masses (CRM). A few months later, the left-wing armed groups united to form the Unified Revolutionary Directorate (DRU). It was renamed the FMLN following its merger with the Communist Party in October 1980.

The full-fledged civil war lasted for more than 12 years and saw extreme violence from both sides. It also included the deliberate terrorizing and targeting of civilians by death squads, the recruitment of child soldiers, and other violations of human rights, mostly by the military. An unknown number of people disappeared during the conflict, and the UN reports that more than 75,000 were killed. The United States contributed to the conflict by providing large amounts of military aid to the government of El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

The United Nations has estimated that approximately 85% of all killings of civilians in Salvador's civil conflict have been committed by government forces, and 5% by FMLN guerrilla.

In 1990, the UN began peace negotiations and on January 16, 1992, a final agreement, The Chapultepec Peace Agreement, was signed by the combatants in Mexico City, formally ending the conflict.