Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Chronology: Syria

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Chronology: Syria

Article excerpt

See also Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudia Arabia, Turkey, UAE

Jan. 15: Syrian President Bashar al-Asad granted amnesty for crimes that took place during the recent uprising in the country, including soldiers who defected from the state's military. To qualify for the amnesty, protesters had to turn in their weapons and soldiers had to turn themselves in before the end of January. The number of jailed activists from the revolution in Syria was estimated to be in the tens of thousands. [BBC, 1/15]

Jan. 18: Syrian troops who shelled a rebel stronghold in the town of Zabadani for two days announced a ceasefire with the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA had overwhelming local support in the town, and several Syrian soldiers defected to the rebel side during the standoff. As part of the ceasefire, the FSA would withdraw from the streets and the army would leave. [BBC, 1/18]

Jan. 22: Speaking for the Arab League, Foreign Minister Shaykh Hamad Bin Jasim announced an extension of the League's observer mission in Syria and proposed a new peace deal to end the violence in the country. [VOA, 1/22]

Jan. 28: Amid intensifying violence, the Arab League announced the suspension of its observer mission in Syria, though observers would remain in the country. The mission began in December 2011 in an attempt to stop the bloodshed between protesters and the government, but several countries in the League withdrew their support after the mission failed to produce meaningful results. Syrian officials expressed their anger over the decision, pointing out that they were willing to extend the mission for another month. [BBC, 1/28]

Jan. 30: The FSA claimed that it took control of a suburb of Homs, a city that became the epicenter of fighting between the Syrian Army and the rebels. Rebels said that around 74 people were killed in government attacks on the city over a two-day period the week before. [VOA, 1/30]

Feb. 4: Russia and China vetoed an Arab-backed UN resolution that called for the resignation of President Asad, causing an outcry from Western and Gulf leaders. The Russian envoy called the resolution a biased attempt at "regime change." The day before the UN vote, Syrian forces began shelling the restive city of Homs, Syria's third largest city, killing between 230 and 260 overnight. [Reuters, 2/4]

Feb. 10: Violence spread to the commercial city of Aleppo after two bombs tore through military and security buildings, killing 25. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the worst violence to occur in Aleppo since the revolution began in early 2011. Meanwhile, Syrian forces continued their week-long shelling of Homs which resulted in dozens of civilian deaths. [Reuters, 2/10]

Feb. 16: A resolution calling for the resignation of President Asad overwhelmingly passed in the UN General Assembly. The resolution was similar to one China and Russia vetoed on February 4. [Reuters, 2/16]

Feb. 22: French photographer Remi Ochlik and American journalist Marie Colvin were killed along with more than 80 people as the Syrian regime's siege of Homs approached three weeks. During that time, several hundred civilians died as Syrian forces targeted civilian suburbs which were strongholds of the FSA. The journalists snuck into Homs from Lebanon to report on the growing humanitarian disaster in the besieged city. [Reuters, 2/22]

Feb. 27: Syrian officials announced that a new constitution received 89.4% support from over 8 million voters in a referendum, though diplomats who observed the vote claimed that only a handful of Syrians showed up at polling stations. The regime's detractors at home and overseas described the vote as a farce. The new constitution allowed President Asad to remain in power until 2028, though the President maintained that the constitution would lead to multi-party elections in a matter of months. The same day, 59 people were killed in battles across the country. …

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