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Focus: More than two years of conflict in Syria

How did it get to the point of 5,000 people a month dying in the conflict?

A Syrian boy mourns his father who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper in Idlib, north Syria last year.
A Syrian boy mourns his father who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper in Idlib, north Syria last year.
Image: AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File

THE CONFLICT IN Syria began more than two years ago with peaceful protests for reform as Arab Spring revolts rocked Tunisia and Egypt, but soon escalated into bitter civil war as the regime cracked down.

UN officials said on Tuesday that 5,000 people a month are dying in the conflict which has thrown up the worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


March 15: First protests after calls on Facebook for a “Day of Dignity” demanding greater civil liberties and the release of political prisoners.

March 23: 100 people reportedly killed in a crackdown in Daraa, cradle of the uprising.

April-July: Protests spread across Syria and strengthen, with calls for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

August 18: US President Barack Obama and his allies urge Assad to quit. Western and Arab states later impose sanctions on his regime.


June 16: UN observers, deployed to monitor an April truce deal which was not respected, suspend operations.

July 15: Heavy fighting breaks out in Damascus as fighters from the rebel Free Syrian Army entrenched in the outskirts of the city try to advance in the capital.

Intense clashes rage until July 23, when regime forces say they have driven back the rebels.

July 18: Four senior security officials, including Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, killed in a Damascus bombing.

July 19: Russia and China veto for the third time a resolution threatening the regime with sanctions.

July 20: Rebels launch a major assault on Syria’s commercial capital Aleppo. The 28 the military launches a counter-offensive, after rebel fighters seize areas of the city. A stalemate sets in, which has continued until the present.

November 11: The opposition signs a unity deal in Doha to form a National Coalition.


February 21: A spate of bombings across Damascus kills at least 83 people.

March 6: The northern city of Raqa comes under total rebel control, in their biggest victory to date.

May 3-5: Israeli raids hit military sites outside Damascus, targeting weapons bound for Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

June 5: The Syrian army recaptures the key town of Qusayr, following an assault led by fighters from Hezbollah.

June 13: Washington says that the regime has used chemical weapons against the rebels.

June 22: Foreign ministers of countries supporting the opposition agree to provide it “urgently” with material to support rebels.

July 8: Assad replaces the ruling Baath party’s top leadership, including Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, who has criticised him.

July 11: An Al-Qaeda front group operating in Syria kills a rebel chief in the coastal province of Latakia, according to an NGO.

July 16: Five thousand people a month are dying in the war which has now thrown up the worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, UN officials say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say more than 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted.

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