Western Sahara has an estimated population of 260,000 (UN, 2010). The capital is Laayoune. Western Sahara has an area of 252, 120 sq km (97, 344 sq miles). The main language is Arabic.
Western Sahara is the center of a decade-long conflict between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. Since 1976, Sahara has been under the control of Morocco. On the 27th of February 1976, Polisario declared the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and announced its first government in August 1976. Several people were killed during violent clashes between Moroccan security and protesters. Talks were held in 2008 at the UN in New York between Morocco and Polisario but no progress was made.
It is estimated that 125,000 to 165,000 refugees from the war in 1975 and their descendant still live in poor conditions at refugee camps in Algeria.