Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A Timeline of Key Developments since 2011 in the Conflict in Syria

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A Timeline of Key Developments since 2011 in the Conflict in Syria

Article excerpt

The conflict in Syria: a chronology


OTTAWA - The conflict in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions more, helped to destabilize the region and spurred a refugee crisis in Europe. Here is a chronology of how it all came about:

2000: British-trained doctor Bashar Assad succeeds his father, Haffaz Assad, as president of Syria, extending a family dictatorship dating back to 1970.

2011: The Arab Spring topples regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Peaceful protests begin in Syria, but the Assad's government responds with a harsh crackdown, killing hundreds. The United States and the European Union impose sanctions. A coalition of Syrian opposition groups establishes the Syrian National Council, vowing to topple Assad and introduce democracy. The Arab League suspends Syria's membership.


Feb.16: The UN General Assembly passes a non-binding resolution endorsing an Arab League plan for Assad to step down.

April 12: A ceasefire goes into effect, leading to a brief reduction in violence. The UN reports violations by both sides.

August: U.S. President Barack Obama warns that the use of chemical weapons would tilt the U.S. towards intervention. A UN commission of inquiry accuses both the Syrian government and opposition forces of committing war crimes.

November: Syrian opposition factions formally agree to unite as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

December: The United States, Britain, France, Turkey and Gulf states formally recognize the National Coalition as "legitimate representative" of Syrian people.


Jan. 6: Assad announces he will not step down and plans a new constitution. He labels his opposition "terrorists."

April 25: The United States says it has evidence that sarin gas has been used in Syria on a small scale.

May 17: The UN reports that more than 1.5 million Syrians have fled the country.

June: UN agencies ask for US$4.4 billion to support humanitarian work in Syria and neighbouring countries, the largest humanitarian funding appeal ever.

June 13: The Obama administration says that Syria has crossed a "red line" by using chemical weapons, including sarin.

Aug. 23: The UN secretary general calls the use of chemical weapons in Syria a crime against humanity which must be punished.

Aug. 24: Doctors Without Borders announces that three hospitals near Damascus have treated more than 3,000 patients for "neurotoxic symptoms."

Aug. 26: Then-U.S. secretary of state John Kerry calls suspected chemical weapons attack "inexcusable," saying President Obama believes there must be accountability.

Aug. 30: Kerry says chemical attacks in Syria killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children.

Sept. 9: Syria accepts a Russian proposal to give up control of chemical weapons.

Sept. 27: UN Security Council passes a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate chemical weapons arsenal. …

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