Syria unrest timeline
Key dates in a year of violence and repression in Syria, where rights groups say upwards of 8,500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
- 15: First protests in response to a Facebook call for a "Day of Dignity."
- 18-27: The regime cracks down on protests in Damascus, Banias in the northwest and the southern town of Daraa, the cradle of the protests where activists say 100 are killed on the 23rd. Deadly violence also in Latakia in the northwest.
- 18: The regime vows to suppress what it calls an "armed revolt" by "Salafist groups."
- 25-26: The protests spread and strengthen, with calls for the fall of the regime. In June the army deploys near Iraq and near the borders with Turkey and then Lebanon.
- 15: More than one million people demonstrate, notably in the central town of Hama and Deir Ezzor in the east. On the 31st, 100 people are killed in a major army offensive in Hama.
- 18: US President Barack Obama and Western allies call on Assad to step down. Western and Arab countries later impose successive rounds of sanctions on the regime.
- 16: Army defectors, members of the Free Syrian Army, attack a military intelligence base near Damascus.
- 4: China and Russia veto a resolution condemning the repression at the UN Security Council, the second time they have done so.
- 12: The Arab League decides to provide political and material support to the opposition and calls for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping mission, after their new plan calling for Assad to transfer powers to his deputy is rejected.
- 22: Two Western journalists, from the US and France, killed in shelling in the flashpoint city of Homs, after a French journalist was killed there in January. Two more, from Britain and France, are seriously wounded.
- 24: Arab and Western nations meet in Tunisia for the first "Friends of Syria" meeting. They recognise main opposition umbrella group the Syrian National Council (SNC) as "a legitimate representative of Syrians seeking peaceful democratic change."
- 26: A referendum on a new constitution takes place, but is mocked by the opposition and the West. The regime has regularly announced reforms which have been followed by intensified repression.
- 1: Regime forces seize the Baba Amr district of Homs after 27 days of relentless shelling and a ground assault. The SNC urges international intervention to stop a "potential massacre." The UN's Human Rights Council calls on Syria to allow aid agencies "free and unimpeded" access to those caught up in the bloodshed.
- 7: UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos visits and says the Syrian protest city of Homs had been "completely devastated".
- 8: Syria's deputy oil minister resigns, becoming the most senior official to join the rebel ranks.
- 9: The army launches an assault in the northwestern province of Idlib, on the eve of a first visit by new international envoy Kofi Annan. Some 10 high-ranking army officers, including four generals, defect from the army and arrive in Turkey.
- 11 Annan ends two-day visit to Syria, leaving with no deal in sight but says he has presented Assad with "concrete proposals" to halt the unrest, as fighting rages across the country. Monitors say more than 120 people have been killed Saturday and Sunday.