A timeline of the uprising in Syria that has rocked the government of President Bashar Al-Assad
Created by France24_en on 03/08/2011
Last updated: 03/08/11 at 19:07
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On the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the army launches a major offensive against the city of Hama that kills more than 70 people. The international community condemns the incident as a "massacre", and Russia for the first time uses strong language against Damascus.
In a further attempt to appease protesters, Damascus announces a new law establishing a multi-party system in Syria. But the protests continue.
In his third speech since the beginning of the unrest, Syria’s president tries in vain to appease protesters. He announces the creation of the National Dialogue Committee that could lead to a "new constitution". Assad says the new or revised text could even cut out Article 8 (which institutionalised supremacy of the Baath Party, already in power for over 40 years). But the speech fails to convince the opposition, the majority of which boycotts “national dialogue”.
Germany, France, Britain and Portugal introduce a draft resolution denouncing the actions of the Syrian government. Lacking the backing of both Russia and China, the UN Security Council fails to pass sanctions against Syria.
Damascus sends its army to the northwest town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the border with Turkey, after state TV reports that 120 security personnel were killed in clashes with armed men. Dozens of people are killed in the ensuing violence, and thousands flee across the border to Turkey.
In a meeting in Antalya, Turkey, opponents of the government in Damascus craft a plan for the transition to a Syrian democracy. These opposition leaders also call for the "immediate resignation" of President Bashar al-Assad.
The dead body of Hamza al-Khatib, a 13-year-old boy, is handed over to his parents with visible signs of torture. He had been arrested a month earlier during protests in Deraa. A video of his mutilated body is shared on social networking sites, and activists quickly turn Hamza into one of the icons of the revolution.
Foreign affairs ministers of the European Union approve a measure to revoke President Assad’s travel visas and freeze his foreign assets. The move is in response to the violence that has killed an estimated 900 people since mid-March, and follows similar sanctions by the United States.
After the “Friday of Rage” protests, which leave 62 people dead, more than a dozen tanks roll into Deraa. The military vehicles are reinforcements for the soldiers who are already deployed across the city.
In a speech before the new government, President Assad promises to end emergency rule – in place since 1963 – within a week. This is one of the protesters’ demands. Emergency rule is in fact repealed on April 21.
While the revolt continues, particularly in the opposition hotbed of Deraa, Syrian security forces hit back with a bloody campaign of repression.
Syrian President al-Assad addresses the country for the first time since the start of the unrest. Assad says there is a plot to topple him, but promises reform.
Two weeks after the start of protests, the entire Syrian government hands its resignation to President Bashar al-Assad, who accepts it. Assad appoints outgoing minister of agriculture, Adel Safar, as the new Syrian prime minister. Safar forms a new government with former and new cabinet members.
Security forces crush the protest in Deraa. However, protesters in other cities quickly take to the streets.
Inspired by other revolts of the so-called Arab Spring, cyber activists on Facebook call for a “silent” demonstration in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The event brings together about 150 family members of political prisoners. Another crowd also gathers in Deraa, the town credited with sparking the Syrian revolt. Police answer with deadly repression. Since the start of the uprising, amateur video and testimony from international rights groups have been the only testament to the violence—Syria is off limits to all foreign media.