March: Civilian protests break out during “Arab Spring” following four decades of repressive rule by the Assad dynasty. Escalates to civil war. Many soldiers defect to the rebel side.
July: A defecting army colonel sets up the Turkey-based rebel Free Syrian Army. 2012 March: Regime forces recapture third city Homs, which had fallen into the hands of the rebels. It carries out other bloody operations, notably in the central city of Hama.
July: FSA fighters launch a battle for Damascus but the government holds firm. 2013: Regime helicopters and planes unleash crude barrel bombs on rebel zones. Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Iran join Assad.
August: US accuses the regime of killing more than 1400 people with chemical weapons in rebel-held districts near Damascus.
September: The US and Assad ally Russia come to an agreement on a plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, averting punitive US strikes against the regime for crossing a “red line”. 2014
January: Hostilities between jihadists of ISIS and rebel groups turn into open war in the north. ISIS takes Raqqa from rebel
forces, allowing Damascus to justify its fight as a battle against “terrorism”.
September: A US-led coalition launches air strikes against ISIS. 2015 September: Russia launches air strikes in support of Assad’s troops, turning the tables for the regime. 2016
December: Assad forces retake Aleppo, considered to be Syria’s second city. 2017
April: A sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun kills more than 80 people, prompting the US to bomb a Syrian air base at Shayrat. 2018
January: Turkey, which is wary of Kurdish aspirations for autonomy, launches operation against Kurdish People’s Protection Units.
February: Syrian regime launches assault on rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, killing 1700 civilians in seven weeks.
April: Syria launches what is widely suspected to be a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta’s main town of Douma. The Syrian Government and Russia reject the claims, however the US pledges a forceful response.
April 14: The US, Britain and France carry out a wave of punitive strikes in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks.