Syria; key historical events
See also Islam for events in the wider Islamic world
Page last modified 15/3/2020
11/1/2019, The USA began to pull its forces out of Syria. Russia, ally of Syrian President Assad, welcomed the news, as Assad appeared to have won the Syrian Civil War. There were concerns that the US move could allow ISIS to regroup, or expose the Kurds to attacks from Turkey.
7/4/2018, A poison gas attack (chlorine or sarin) on Syrian civilians in the rebel-held area of Douma was reported. Russia, who was backing Syrian President Assad, along with Iran, alleged that the attack was a fabrication. The US and Israel replied with airstrikes on Syrian air force facilities.
7/9/2017, Four Israeli jets fired missiles at a Syrian facility believed to be a site of chemicals weapons production, killing two Syrians.
6/4/2017, US President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat Airbase, Syria, in response to the gas attack of 2/4/2017. 4 were killed. Russia, an ally of Assad, was angry and said the incident had nearly started a war between Russia and the US. Trump said he might fire more missiles into Syria.
4/4/2017, 58 were killed by poison gas in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. Government forces under Assad were blamed.
13/12/2016, Aleppo was completely taken by Syrian Government forces, after rebel fighters were defeated, with Russian assistance. However the Syrian civil war, which had begun in 2011, continued, and fighting was still reported in the Aleppo area.
24/8/2016, The United Nations determined that the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents, in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. A later report held the government responsible for a third attack. The attacks occurred in 2014 and 2015. The panel also found that ISIS had used mustard gas.
31/5/2016, 25 people died in airstrikes in Idlib, Syria.
24/11/2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter that was taking part in Russia’s pro-Assad campaign in Syria, against both ISIS and non-ISIS rebels. Turkey said the aircraft had transgressed into Turkish airspace, and was warned several times. Russia denied the warnings, and it appeared the jet had at most been in Turkish airspace for 2 or 3 seconds as it (might have) crossed a finger of Turkish territory jutting into Syria.
12/11/2015, ‘Jihadi John’ was killed by a US drone strike in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah, northern Syria.
30/9/2015, Russia began airstrikes in Syria, against anti-Assad rebels.
7/8/2015, The U.N. Security Council authorised investigators to probe reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, as reports circulated of repeated chlorine gas attacks by government forces against civilians in opposition-held areas. Chlorine gas, though not as toxic as nerve agents, can be classified as a chemical weapon depending on its use.
1/4/2015, ISIS forces took Palmyra.
29/10/2014, 150 Kurdish fighters set off from Erbil (Kurdish Iraq) to travel through Turkish territory to reinforce Kurdish fighters across the Turkish-Syria border battling ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani. ISIS began to lose ground there, as Syrian Kurds were reinforced by US arms drops and US air strikes against ISIS. The fight for Kobani assumed increased importance as the global TV media focussed on the battle from just across the border in Turkey. The issue of Turkey allowing Kurdish reinforcements across its territory was sensitive because Turkey has its own Kurdish minority region in the south-east.
22/9/2014, A US-led coalition began air strikes against ISIS in Syria.
23/6/2014, The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said it had removed the last of the Syrian government's chemical weapons. Syrian opposition officials maintained that the government's stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.
14/1/2014, ISIS forces took Raqqa, Syria.
3/1/2014, Anti-Assad groups in northern Syria united against ISIS.
14/10/2013, Syria became a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling or using chemical weapons.
27/9/2013, The UN Security Council ordered Syria to account for and destroy its stocks of chemical weapons, following a surprise agreement between the USA and Russia, so averting US airstrikes. Use of force was threatened by the UN if Syria did not comply.
31/8/2013, US President Obama desired to carry out punitive airstrikes against the Syrian government, but Congress did not support the idea.
21/8/2013, Hundreds of people suffocated in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital, with many suffering from convulsions, pinpoint pupils, and foaming at the mouth. U.N. investigators visited the sites and determined that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept. The U.S. and others blamed the Syrian government, the only party to the conflict known to have sarin gas.
5/6/2013, In the Syrian civil war, the town of Qusayr was recaptured by pro-Assad forces.
7/4/2013, The Syrian government launched an air raid on rebels in Aleppo, killing 15 people.
19/3/2013, 26 Syrians, including a dozen Government soldiers, were killed in a gas attack on the town of Khan-al-Assal, northern Syria. A UN investigation found that sarin nerve gas had been used, but could not identify the source.
20/8/2012, US President Obama strongly cautioned the Syrian Government against any use of chemical weapons.
19/7/2012, Groups opposed to the regime of Syria’s leader, Bashar al Assad, attacked the city of Aleppo. Aleppo became divided into a pro-regime west and a pro-rebel east.
18/8/2011, US President Obama called on Syrian President Assad to resign, and froze Syrian assets in the US.
31/7/2011, In Syria, an army raid on the town of Hama killed over 120. So far the Syrian civil war had claimed 3,000 lives.
12/6/2011, Thousands of Syrians fled into Turkey to escape the civil war.
1/4/2011, Large protests by Syrian civilians against their Government after Friday prayers.
18/3/2011, Further protests in Deraa over the detention by security forces of a group of boys accused of painting anti-govermnment graffiti on the walls of their school. Earlier, on 15/3/2011, protests against the boys’ detention had taken place in Damascus. On 18/3/2011 Syrian government forces opened fire in Deraa, killing four people. These are regarded as the first deaths in the Syrian civil war.
6/3/2011, Unrest in Deraa, Syria.
2006, The Danish Embassy in Damascus was attacked over cartoons in a Danish newspaper satrirising the propheyty Mohammed.
10/6/2000, Hafez al Assad, President of Syria, died. His son, Bashar Assad, succeeded him.
27/12/1989, Egypt and Syria resumed full diplomatic relations.
16/3/1980, Martial Law was proclaimed in Aleppo as political violence swept Syria.
1973, A new Syrian Constitution entrenched Ba’ath Party dominance.
1970, Hafez al Assad seized power again.
23/2/1966, A military junta seized power in Syria, ousting Hafez al Assad.
1963, Ba’athist military junta seized power, with Major General Amin al Hafez as leader.
29/9/1961, Syria seceded from the United Arab Republic after anti-Egyptian uprisings.
25/12/1959, The USSR agreed to supply financial and technical aid to Syria.
6/1936, Syria and France negotiated a Treaty of Independence, to take effect in 1939; Hashim al-Atassi was elected to be the first President of the newly independent country. However the French legislature never ratified the Treaty, and in 1940 France fell to the Nazis and the Vichy French Government took over. At this point British and Free French forces took over Syria, consolidating theor control over the country in July 1941. After World War Two, Syrian Nationalists forced the French to leave the country and a Republican Government took over the running of Syria.
1925, Druze revolt in Damascus against French occupation. French High Commissioner General Sarrail ordered the bombardment of this area of the city.
11/3/1920, The National Congress in Syria proclaimed Feisal, 3rd son of King Hussein of the Hejaz, King of an independent Syria.
1918, Arab troops led by Emir Faisal captured Damascus from the Ottoman Turks, ending 400 years of Ottoman rule.
1516, Ottoman Turkey conquered Syria.
For events in the Syria region during Roman and Byzantine times see Roman Empire
For events in the Syria region in pre-Roman times see Jewish