Brief History of Syria and Events

The war in Syria broke out after a peaceful protest took place suggesting the p

Rise of Islamists

2013 September – UN weapons inspectors conclude that chemical weapons were used in an attack on the Ghouta area of Damascus in August that killed about 300 people, but do not allocate responsibility. Government allows UN to destroy chemical weapons stocks, process complete by June 2014.

2013 December – US and Britain suspend “non-lethal” support for rebels in northern Syria after reports that Islamist rebels seized bases of Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

2014 January-February – UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva fail, largely because Syrian authorities refuse to discuss a transitional government.

2014 March – Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces recapture Yabroud, the last rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border.

2014 June – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants declare “caliphate” in territory from Aleppo to eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.

2014 September – US and five Arab countries launch air strikes against Islamic State around Aleppo and Raqqa.

2015 January – Kurdish forces push Islamic State out of Kobane on Turkish border after four months of fighting.

2015 May – Islamic State fighters seize the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria and proceed to destroy many monuments at pre-Islamic World Heritage site.

Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) Islamist rebel alliance takes control of Idlib Province, putting pressure on government’s coastal stronghold of Latakia.

Russian intervention

2015 September – Russia carries out its first air strikes in Syria, saying they target the Islamic State group, but the West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels.

2015 December – Syrian Army allows rebels to evacuate remaining area of Homs, returning Syria’s third-largest city to government control after four years.

2016 March – Syrian government forces retake Palmyra from Islamic State with Russian air assistance, only to be driven out again in December.

2016 August – Turkish troops cross into Syria to help rebel groups push back so-called Islamic State militants and Kurdish-led rebels from a section of the two countries’ border.

2016 December – Government troops, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-sponsored militias, recapture Aleppo, the country’s largest city, depriving the rebels of their last major urban stronghold.

2017 January – Russia, Iran and Turkey agree to enforce a ceasefire between the government and non-Islamist rebels, after talks between the two sides in Kazakhstan.

US intervenes

2017 April – US President Donald Trump orders a missile attack on an airbase from which Syrian government planes allegedly staged a chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

2017 May – US decides to arm the YPG Kurdish Popular Protection Units. These fight alongside the main opposition Syrian Democratic Forces, which captures the important Tabqa dam from Islamic State.

2017 June – US shoots down Syrian fighter jet near Raqqa after it allegedly dropped bombs near US-backed rebel Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

2017 July – The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Syrian army launch a military operation to dislodge jihadist groups from the Arsal area, near the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Islamic State retreats

2017 October-November – The Islamic State group is driven from Raqqa, its de-facto capital in Syria, and Deir al-Zour.

2018 January – Turkey launches an assault on northern Syria to oust Kurdish rebels controlling the area around Afrin.

2018 April – Claims of a new chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta’s main town of Douma prompt the US, Britain and France to carry out a wave of punitive strikes on Syrian targets.

2018 July – Syrian army recaptures almost all of the south of the country, up to the borders with Jordan and Israeli-held territory.

2018 September-December – Kurdish-led SDF forces launch offensive that reduces Islamic State territory to a tiny enclave on the Iraqi border.

2019 October – US withdraws troops from northern Syria, prompting Turkey to attack US Kurdish allies in the area.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dies in US raid on his hideout in Idlib Province.

2020 March – Turkey sends thousands of troops across the border to stop a Syrian offensive to retake Idlib, the last province still in opposition hands.

2020 June – Protests in southern Syria at growing economic hardship prompt President Assad to dismiss Prime Minister Imad Khamis.

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