Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Chronology: Syria

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Chronology: Syria

Article excerpt

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia

Jan. 21: War crimes prosecutors announced that there was clear evidence that the Syrian government had systematically tortured and executed approximately 11,000 prisoners since the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011. The prosecutors examined 55,000 photographs of dead prisoners, provided by a defected military police photographer referred to as Caesar. [BBC, 1/21]

Jan. 22: The internationally moderated Geneva II peace talks between the government and opposition began in Switzerland, with both sides expressing frustration and making accusations. The opposition claimed that President Bashar al-Asad had no legitimacy as a ruler and must step down; the foreign minister said only Syrians could decide the president's fate. The first day of talks included speeches from approximately 40 foreign ministers, and direct talks would begin on January 24. The goal of the talks was to agree on a transitional administration and outline a peace plan for the country. [BBC, 1/22]

Jan. 26: The Syrian government allowed women and children to leave the besieged city of Homs, where hundreds were trapped. The government requested a full list of adult male citizens, in order to ensure they were not opposition fighters before allowing them to leave the city. The allowance was the first concrete outcome of the Geneva II peace talks. [Reuters, 1/26]

Jan. 31: The first round of the Geneva II talks concluded without achieving its goal of easing the government's blockade on humanitarian aid to besieged communities. The international community expressed outrage, but did not propose new measures to push the Asad regime to allow humanitarian aid or cease its attacks. [NYT, 1/31]

Feb. 2: Government barrel bombs killed about 90 people, most of them civilians, in rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo. State media reported that the air strikes killed terrorists, a blanket term the government used for the opposition. [BBC, 2/2]

Feb. 5: Syria missed a February 5 deadline, set in September 2013, to ship all chemical weapons out of the country. Syria had so far destroyed less than five percent of their chemical weapons arsenal. The government blamed the delay on the ongoing war, and reaffirmed its commitment to destroy its chemical weapons before the end of June. [Guardian, 2/5]

Feb. 13: Government forces bombarded the city of Yabrud, the last opposition stronghold in the Qalamun Mountains in northeastern Syria. Ten government air strikes killed at least one and wounded 22. Rebels held Yabrud for most of the three-year Syrian conflict. [Daily Star, 2/13]

Feb. 15: United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people after the second round of the Geneva II talks ended without significant progress. Brahimi said that the Syrian regime and opposition had agreed to reconvene for a third round of talks, but no date had been set. [Reuters, 2/15]

Feb. 22: The Syrian Kurdish group known as People's Protection Units captured the town of Tall Birak; 28 fighters were killed in the battle. Syrian Islamist rebels previously controlled the town. [NYT, 2/22]

Feb. 23: A car bomb exploded near a field hospital in the rebel-held town of Atma, near the Turkey-Syria border, killing several people and injuring 50. The field hospital was located in a camp housing thousands of displaced Syrians. [BBC, 2/23]

A suicide attack killed a high-ranking jihadi mediator, Abu Khalid al-Suri. Abu Khalid was believed to have been close to Usama Bin Ladin and to have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been sent to Syria by the head of al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to mediate conflicts between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Nusra Front. [NYT, 2/23]

Feb. 26: Government soldiers killed 150 rebels and civilians in 'Utayba, east of Damascus; the attack was one of the deadliest against opposition fighters since the start of the Syrian Civil War. …

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