Syria's History

Syria

1216-1516

1216 - 1516

Syria belonged to the Ottoman Empire.

1916

1916

The Arab Revolt started in hopes of gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1919-20

1919

Emir Feisal backs Arab self-rule from the Ottoman Empire.

1939

1939

Syria is officially deemed a free nation.

1946

1946

The last French troops leave Syria.

1948-49

1948

Army officer Adib al-Shishakhli seizes power in the third military coup within one year.

1958-1961

1958

Syria and Egypt join the United Arab Republic. In addition, unrest causes a Syrian Army to seize power in Damascus and dissolve the union.

1967

1967

Israeli forces seize the Golan Heights from Syria and destroy much of Syria's air force in the Six Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

1970-1971

1970

Hafez al-Assad overthrows president Nur al-Din al-Atasi and imprisons Salah Jadid.

1973

1973

Rioting breaks out after Assad drops the constitutional requirement that the president must be a Muslim. He is accused of heading an atheist regime. The riots are suppressed by the army.

1976

1976

Syrian army intervenes in the Lebanese civil war to ensure that the status quo is maintained, and the Maronites remain in power.

1981-1982

1981

Israel annexes the Golan Heights. In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the city of Hama. The revolt is suppressed by the military, whom rights organisations accuse of killing tens of thousands of civilians.

1987

1987

Assad sends troops into Lebanon for a second time to enforce a ceasefire in Beirut.

1989

1989

The Taif Agreement helps to end the Lebanon Civil War.

1990-1991

1990

Iraq invades Kuwait; Syria joins the US-led coalition against Iraq. This leads to improved relations with Egypt and the US. Furthermore, Syria participates in the Middle East peace conference in Madrid and holds talks with Israel that founder over the Golan Heights issue.

2001

2001

Outlawed Muslim Brotherhood says it will resume political activity, 20 years after its leaders were forced to flee.

2003

2003

US threatens sanctions if Damascus fails to take what Washington calls the "right decisions". Syria denies US allegations that it is developing chemical weapons and helping fugitive Iraqis. In addition, President Assad appoints Mohammed Naji al-Otari prime minister. Also, an Israeli air strike against Palestinian militant camp near Damascus. Syria says action is "military aggression".

September 2004

2004

US imposes economic sanctions on Syria over what it calls its support for terrorism and failure to stop militants entering Iraq. Furthermore, the UN Security Council resolution calls for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon.

February 2005

2005

Tensions with the US escalate after the killing of former Lebanese PM Hariri in Beirut. Washington cites Syrian influence in Lebanon. Damascus is urged to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, which it does by April.