March 18, 2011
Police open fire on demonstrators in the southern city of Dara, where the arrest and alleged torture of teenagers accused of writing anti-government graffiti sparked protests in several Syrian cities. The protesters are calling for the release of political prisoners and increased freedom.
March 23, 2011
Witnesses report 15 people are killed as protests continue in Dara, now the epicenter of unrest. The city is effectively sealed off, with entrance restricted to security forces.
(Louai Beshara / AFP/Getty Images)
March 25, 2011
Dozens of demonstrators are killed in Damascus and other cities, according to witnesses. Protests are rippling across Syria but President Bashar Assad still enjoys broad support.
March 29, 2011
Assad dissolves his cabinet and promises reforms in an attempt to appease protesters. But he does not lift the emergency ban on public dissent, further inciting anger.
April 1, 2011
Thousands of Syrians flood the streets of several major cities for a new round of anti-government protests, defying security forces who use gunfire and tear gas in an attempt to disperse them.
April 7, 2011
Assad promises citizenship and increased rights to hundreds of thousands of Kurdish minorities, hoping to dissuade them from joining the protests.
April 8, 2011
Protests nationwide -- including the first uprisings in Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city -- are the largest and deadliest thus far. Demonstrators begin calling for an end to Assad's regime.
April 18, 2011
Thousands join a politically charged funeral procession for at least 20 protesters reportedly shot and killed by security forces in the city of Homs. Smaller demonstrations are reported in other cities.
April 19, 2011
The newly appointed cabinet endorses proposals that appear to broaden civil liberties -- among them, lifting a 48-year-old state of emergency that restricts civil liberties, abolishing a powerful security court and regulating political gatherings. But security forces continue their violent crackdown and the cabinet warns residents not to protest.
April 22, 2011
Tens of thousands of peaceful protesters pour into the streets of Syrian cities only to be met with bullets and tear gas. At least 88 people around the country are killed, according to a prominent human rights lawyer.
April 29, 2011
Despite government warnings against any civil disobedience, protesters across the country strike out in a "Friday of Rage" after noon prayers to protest Assad's authoritarian regime and its violent crackdown on democracy advocates.
May 5, 2011
Syrian authorities intensify a crackdown on opposition activists, arresting hundreds of people ahead of another planned day of demonstrations.
May 13, 2011
In a show of strength, the popular movement opposing Assad takes to the streets in large numbers across the country, defying a campaign of violence and mass detentions by security forces.
May 18, 2011
Ratcheting up pressure to halt a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters, the Obama administration for the first time slaps economic sanctions on Assad and his top aides.
May 20, 2011
Syrian security forces loyal to Assad, ignoring international pressure, fire on anti-government protesters, killing at least 34 on a day activists try to draw the country's Kurdish minority into the movement for political change.
May 29, 2011
Syrian forces attack several towns, killing at least nine people as protests continue against Assad's embattled regime.
June 3, 2011
Thousands of anti-government protesters march in Damascus, Homs and other Syrian cities in opposition to Assad, chanting, "These are the last days of your season."
June 10, 2011
Syria plunges deeper into chaos as security forces continue to open fire on peaceful protesters, and refugees flee across the border to Turkey. At least 48 people are reported to have been killed, according to anti-government activists.
(Borzou Daragahi / Los Angeles Times)
June 24, 2011
Syrian security officers open fire on protesters, leaving as many as 20 dead, as people pour into the streets across the nation in defiance of Assad and his promise of limited reform.
July 4, 2011
Syrian tanks, troops and bulldozers enter Hama, a city that has long been a potent symbol of the nation's pro-democracy movement, raiding houses and hunting down activists opposed to Assad's rule.
July 15, 2011
Syria security forces attack protesters across the country. At least 27 people are reported killed, according to activists, many in the suburbs of Damascus and areas near the capital.
An image provided to Shaam News Network is said to show protesters in the central city of Hama.
(Shaam News Network)
July 22, 2011
Massive protests erupt across Syria after noon prayers, as security forces continue to hammer the rebellious central city of Homs with intense gunfire.
July 29, 2011
Col. Riad Asaad, a defector from the Syrian army, announces the formation of the Free Syrian Army for “freedom, dignity and the fall of the regime.” [Video in Arabic] Massive protests are reported across Syria, as opposition activists gear up for increased confrontations expected the following week with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
July 31, 2011
Syrian security forces launch an assault on major opposition strongholds including Hama, the country's fourth-largest city and the site of a 1982 massacre by Assad's father. The offensive, using tanks and gunfire, comes days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Scores are reported killed.
Aug. 14, 2011
Syrian forces for the first time deploy naval power in an attempt to quell an anti-government uprising in the coastal city of Latakia, where protests recently intensified.
Aug. 15, 2011
According to activists, Syrian security forces in Latakia herd thousands of people into a stadium and take away their identification cards and cellphones.
Aug. 18, 2011
President Obama calls for Assad to give up power, a demand echoed by the governments of France, Britain, Germany, Canada and the European Union.
Aug. 27, 2011
Security forces in the Syrian capital increase checkpoints, troop deployments and helicopter patrols in a bid to keep an overnight surge of antigovernment protests in the suburbs from spreading to the heart of Damascus.
Aug. 30, 2011
The final days of Ramadan see a surge in protests and alleged killings by Assad's forces, with 23 people slain between Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon, according to the opposition Local Coordinating Committees.
Oct. 9, 2011
Foreign Minister Walid Moallem says Syria will take 'tough measures' against any country that recognizes a new opposition umbrella group that seeks to expedite Assad's ouster, the Syrian National Council.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem
Oct. 24, 2011
The Obama administration temporarily withdraws its ambassador to Syria, citing threats against his personal safety following his outspoken criticism of the country's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
Ambassador Robert S. Ford
(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct. 26, 2011
An Arab League delegation tasked with helping to end the violence in Syria holds talks with Assad, as anti-government activists report a paralyzing general strike and 17 more deaths.
A massive show of support for President Bashar Assad coincides with the arrival of Arab League delegates.
(Muzaffar Salman/Associated Press)
Nov. 2, 2011
Under intense pressure from Arab states, Syria signs a pact to pull its armed forces from the streets, release political prisoners and engage with opposition groups.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, left, consults with his UAE counterpart Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan.
Nov. 12, 2011
In a stinging rebuke of Assad, the Arab League votes to suspend Syria if his regime fails to take immediate steps to implement a peace plan designed to end months of unrest in the country.
Syrians protest outside the Qatari Embassy in Damascus after a statement, read by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem al Thani, said the Arab League had decided to suspend Syria.
(Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov. 14, 2011
Assad faces heightened economic and political pressure, as Europe imposes a new round of financial sanctions, and King Abdullah II of Jordan calls on the embattled autocrat to step down.
Nov. 27, 2011
At an Arab League meeting in Cairo, members vote to impose punishing sanctions on Assad's government, including freezing assets and halting cooperation with the Syrian central bank.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Alarabi, left, and Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim, center, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right.
Dec. 2, 2011
The United Nations' top human rights forum condemns Syria for "gross and systematic violations" after an independent panel found evidence suggesting the country's security forces had committed crimes against humanity.
Syria’s ambassador to U.N. offices in Geneva, Fayssal Hamwi, said the Human Rights Council's report was “not objective.”
(Laurent Gillieron/European Pressphoto Agency)
Dec. 19, 2011
Under mounting international pressure, Syria says that it will admit Arab observers to monitor a regional peace initiative aimed at ending months of bloodshed that is threatening to push the country into civil war.
Foreign Minister Walid Moallem pledges Syria's full cooperation with Arab observers.
(Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Dec. 23, 2011
Two car bombs with hundreds of pounds of explosives explode in front of intelligence agencies in the capital, Damascus, killing 44 people.
Jan. 24, 2012
An Arab League peace plan for Syria appears to be near collapse as six Persian Gulf nations announce their intention to withdraw monitors from the country and urge the United Nations Security Council to take "all needed measures" to pressure Assad to relinquish power.
Jan. 28, 2012
The Arab League says it is suspending its observer mission in Syria amid escalating violence that has left scores dead in recent days.
Arab League observers, in front row, attend a Mass in Damascus this month for Syrian victims.
(Muzaffar Salman/Associated Press)
Feb. 4, 2012
A United Nations resolution that Washington and its allies called the best chance to stop Syria from sliding into full-fledged civil war goes down to defeat, dashing hopes for a political settlement as death tolls soar in the strategically situated Arab nation.
Security Council representatives Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, left, of Portugal, and Baso Sangqu of South Africa flank Vitaly Churkin of Russia.
(Jason DeCrow/Associated Pre)
Feb. 9, 2012
Opposition activists report that government shelling and attacks have killed more than 100 people, most of them in the embattled city of Homs.
Feb. 26, 2012
With violence flaring in several regions, Syrians cast ballots for a new constitution hailed as a historic breakthrough by Assad and denounced as a farce by his opponents.
March 1, 2012
A month of government shelling culminates with a rebel withdrawal from Baba Amr, and Syrian forces regain control of the Homs neighborhood.
March 6, 2012
President Obama rules out a unilateral U.S. military campaign to support the beleaguered rebels in Syria, calling such an operation "much more complicated" than the NATO-led air war launched to help protect civilians during the civil war in Libya.
March 10, 2012
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges Assad to take "concrete steps" to end the turmoil in his nation, but a reported offensive against rebels in the country's rugged northwest highlights the ferocity of the violence almost a year after the country's uprising began.
Special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, left, and Syrian President Bashar Assad meet in Damascus.
(Syrian Arab News Agency)
March 15, 2012
A year into the Syrian uprising, it is not the opposition but Assad's government that makes a point of conspicuously marking the anniversary. Raucous pro-Assad rallies in the streets of Damascus and other Syrian cities are the latest triumphal signal from a government widely described from outside as besieged or doomed.
Throngs turn out in support of President Bashar Assad at Umayyad Square in Damascus, the capital. Pro-Assad rallies were also held in other cities.
(Youssef Badawi/European Pressphoto Agency)
March 27, 2012
Syria agrees to a peace plan put forward by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, but fighting rages on between government forces and rebels, officials and activists say.
April 12, 2012
Just hours into a cease-fire between the Syrian government and the opposition, the truce is already on shaky ground as more than a dozen people are reported killed and there is no sign that government tanks and heavy weapons have been withdrawn from contested areas.
April 16, 2012
Six United Nations observers arrive in Syria to begin monitoring a cease-fire. A week later, the UN approves a 300-member observer mission.
April 23, 2012
The United States and European Union slap Syria with additional sanctions, as international pressure and a United Nations-backed peace plan fail to quell the violence. Despite the presence of U.N. monitors in the country, Assad's forces continue to shell cities and shoot at protesters, killing dozens of people on the day the sanctions are imposed, activists say.
May 7, 2012
Opposition activists across Syria boycott parliamentary elections they dismiss as illegitimate. The Syrian government hails the multiparty elections, Syria's first, as marking a historic step toward comprehensive political reform in a country that has been ruled by the same family and political party for more than four decades.
May 10, 2012
Twin car bombings near a military intelligence compound in Damascus kill 55 people. In an online video, a previously unknown group, the Al Nusra Front, takes credit for the bombings. With links to Al Qaeda, it will become one of the strongest armed groups fighting Assad.
May 27, 2012
The U.N. Security Council condemns Syrian army artillery and tank barrages in the township of Houla, in western Homs province, where 108 people, most of them women and children, were killed, suggesting in a carefully worded statement that government forces were largely responsible.
June 16, 2012
The United Nations says it is suspending its observer mission in Syria because of escalating violence in the country, signaling a major setback in a U.N.-brokered effort to end violence in the strife-torn nation.
June 22, 2012
Syria shoots down a Turkish military jet. The Turkish foreign minister later says it was shot down in “international airspace” without warning after the aircraft had inadvertently wandered into Syrian skies, contradicting Syria's version that it downed the jet less than a mile from Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.
July 6, 2012
France confirms that Gen. Manaf Tlas, a brigade commander in Syria's ultra-loyal Republican Guard, has defected.
July 14, 2012
United Nations observers visit an alleged massacre site in Treimseh but reach no conclusion about whether the killings were a deliberate slaughter of civilians or the result of clashes between government troops and insurgents. Opposition activists say that as many as 200 people were killed.
July 18, 2012
An audacious bombing aimed at the heart of Syria's feared security services kills three high-ranking officials in Damascus, including Gen. Assef Shawkat, deputy defense minister and Assad’s brother-in-law.
An amateur photo shows smoke rising over Damascus after Syrian rebels bombed the national security headquarters, killing the defense minister, his deputy and an assistant vice president.
July 21, 2012
After almost a week of intense battles in Damascus, fierce clashes between government forces and armed rebels are reported in the northern city of Aleppo, the country's commercial hub.
Aug. 2, 2012
Kofi Annan, the point man for international efforts to bring peace to Syria, announces he is ending his attempt to negotiate an end to the conflict amid a sharp increase in fighting.
Aug. 3, 2012
The U.N. General Assembly condemns the Syrian government's latest attacks on rebellious citizens in a symbolic vote that also criticizes infighting on the Security Council that has thwarted intervention to halt an escalating civil war.
Aug. 6, 2012
Syria's prime minister, Riyad Farid Hijab, defects, dealing a stunning blow to the government. [Video in Arabic]
Aug. 17, 2012
The United Nations names veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi to the daunting task of trying to bring peace to war-torn Syria, with the French chairman of the Security Council conceding that the envoy was being sent on an "impossible mission."
International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi speaks to journalists in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
(Youssef Badawi / European Pressphoto Agency)
Aug. 26, 2012
Bloodied bodies are found strewn in the streets, in basements and even in the cemetery in the besieged Damascus suburb of Dariya, site of what is believed to be the largest mass killing to date in more than 17 months of fighting in Syria, according to opposition and pro-government accounts.
Covered bodies fill a grave reported to be in Dariya, a suburb of Damascus said to be the site of the largest mass killing to date in the Syrian conflict.
(Shaam News Network)
Sept. 26, 2012
Syrian rebels breach checkpoints and concrete barriers to attack the country's military headquarters in Damascus, an assault that leaves the facility scorched and abandoned, and punctures Assad's claim to have his capital under tight control.
Syrian soldiers gather at the military headquarters in Damascus where two bombs went off.
(Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct. 25, 2012
The Syrian military says its forces will observe a temporary holiday cease-fire coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The truce is violated within hours, with both sides blaming each other.
A Free Syrian Army fighter watches over an enemy position as the rebel fighters carry out a military operation at the Moaskar front line in Aleppo.
(Narciso Contreras/Associated Press)
Nov. 2, 2012
A United Nations human rights official says the apparent summary execution of at least eight Syrian government soldiers by Syrian rebels documented on amateur video “looks very like a war crime.”
Nov. 9, 2012
Fierce fighting in a border town in northeastern Syria sends about 8,000 people fleeing into neighboring Turkey over a 24-hour period, one of the largest single-day surges of refugees since the Syrian conflict began, officials say. Turkey is now sheltering more than 120,000 Syrian refugees, well beyond the 100,000 total that Ankara had said would be its limit.
Amid violence near the Turkish border, 8,000 people fled the northeastern city of Ras Ayn alone. How far will this go? asked Turkey's prime minister.
(Veli Gurgah Anadolu/European Pressphoto Agency)
Nov. 11, 2012
The deeply divided Syrian opposition takes a step toward renewed unity, forming a new coalition designed to build stronger international support for its goal of ousting Assad's government. After more than a week of sometimes contentious discussions in the Qatari capital, Doha, Syrian dissidents form the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.
Syrian rights activist Haytham Maleh, left, congratulates Moaz Khatib in Doha, Qatar, after he was elected to lead the new opposition alliance.
(European Pressphoto Agency)
Dec. 3, 2012
The United States bluntly warns Assad against using chemical weapons as his forces lose ground to rebel fighters, reflecting U.S. concerns over new intelligence indicating that Syria might be preparing to unleash some of its chemical stockpiles. The United Nations says it is pulling nonessential foreign staff from Syria because of deteriorating security.
A man gathers belongings from his home in Aleppo, damaged by fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces.
(Narciso Contreras/Associated Press)
March 6, 2013
The United Nations announces that the number of Syrians who have fled their homeland during almost two years of violence has officially exceeded 1 million. The exodus is straining the resources of neighboring nations, especially Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
Syrian children play in front of their tent at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.
(Jamal Nasrallah / European Pressphoto Agency )
June 13, 2013
The White House declares that Syria has crossed a "red line" by using chemical weapons in the country's civil war, and in response, U.S. officials say, President Obama has authorized sending arms to some rebel groups.
July 25, 2013
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Syria's civil war has taken more than 100,000 lives.
Mourners carry a body during a funeral for rebel fighters and a a 10–year–old boy killed during fighting in Idlib, Syria, in February 2012.
Aug. 18, 2013
A team of United Nations experts arrives in Syria to launch a long-delayed investigation of allegations from both sides in the nation’s conflict that chemical weapons have been deployed on the battlefield.
Aug. 21, 2013
In what the opposition calls the worst atrocity of Syria's civil war, anti-government activists accuse the government of killing hundreds of civilians, including many women and children, in a poison-gas attack targeting pro-rebel Damascus suburbs. The government calls the reports untrue and designed to derail an ongoing U.N. inquiry into chemical weapons use.
An image provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network is said to show a woman mourning over a body laid out on the ground after an alleged chemical attack in pro-rebel suburbs of Damascus.