July 19, 2012 / 4:17 PM / 7 years ago

Timeline: Violence in Syria

(Reuters) - Here are some of the main events in the uprising in Syria:

For an Interactive look at Syria click on link.reuters.com/rut37s

March 15, 2011 - About 40 people join a protest in Old Damascus, chanting political slogans in a brief first challenge to the ruling Baath Party.

March 18 - Security forces kill three people at a demonstration in southern Deraa demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption, residents say.

March 22 - Hundreds of people march in Deraa and Nawa demanding freedom in the fifth straight day of demonstrations.

March 24 - President Bashar al-Assad orders the formation of a committee to study scrapping the emergency law in place for the last 48 years. The emergency law is lifted on April 19.

March 25 - There are reports of 23 deaths at marches around Syria, including the first protester’s death in Damascus.

July 31 - Tanks storm Hama, residents say, after a month-long siege. At least 80 people are killed.

September 15 - Opposition activists announce a Syrian National Council to provide an alternative to the government.

November 12 - The Arab League suspends Syria.

December 19 - Syria signs Arab League peace plan.

December 23 - Two suicide bombs explode at security buildings in Damascus, killing 44 people. Syria blames al Qaeda. The opposition blames the government.

February 4, 2012 - Russia and China veto a resolution in U.N. Security Council, backed by Arab League, calling for Assad to step down.

February 16 - The U.N. General Assembly approves a resolution endorsing the Arab League plan calling for Assad to step down.

February 22 - More than 80 people are killed in Homs including two foreign journalists. Hundreds of people have been killed in daily bombardments of the city by Assad’s forces.

February 23 - Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is appointed United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria.

February 24 - Foreign ministers from more than 50 countries meet in Tunis for the inaugural “Friends of Syria” meeting. Russia and China, allies of Syria, do not attend.

February 28 - Assad decrees that a new constitution is in force after officials say nearly 90 percent of voters endorsed it in a February 26 referendum. Opponents and the West dismiss it as a sham.

March 1 - Rebels pull out of the besieged Baba Amr district of Homs after more than three weeks of bombardment.

March 27 - Syria accepts the U.N.-sponsored peace plan.

April 12 - U.N.-backed ceasefire comes into effect. Four days later monitors start to monitor the ceasefire in Syria.

May 7 - Syria says voters turn out in large numbers for a parliamentary election which the opposition denounces as a sham.

May 10 - Two suicide car bombers kill 55 people and wound more than 370 in Damascus.

May 17 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he believes al Qaeda was responsible for the May 10 bombs. He also says 10,000 people have been killed in the uprising.

May 25 - At least 108 people are killed, including many children, in attacks in the region of Houla.

June 3 - In a rare address to parliament, Assad condemns the massacre in Houla.

June 5/6 - Activists say troops and militiamen loyal to Assad kill at least 78 people at Mazraat al-Qabeer, near Hama. The government says the killings are a “monstrous crime” and its forces are uprooting militants in the area.

June 6 - Assad names party stalwart Riyad Hijab to form a new government, signaling it will make no concessions.

June 12 - The uprising has grown into a full-scale civil war, U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous says. Four days later the violence forces U.N. observers to suspend operations.

June 22 - Syrian troops shoot down a Turkish warplane. Damascus says it was self-defense, Ankara calls it an “act of aggression”.

June 26 - Assad says his country is “at war”.

July 6 - “Friends of Syria” meet in Paris, agree to increase aid to Syrian rebels. On the same day Brigadier-General Manaf Tlas, who headed a unit of Syria’s Republican Guard and was a long-time ally of Assad, defects. French President Francois Hollande confirms he is in France on July 17.

July 11 - Nawaf al-Fares, Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, defects and joins the opposition.

July 12 - Activists say troops and pro-Assad militiamen kill up to 220 people in the Sunni Muslim village of Tremseh in the Hama region. The next day the U.N. observers say the attack appeared to target army defectors and activists.

July 17 - Armored vehicles clash with rebels in Damascus in what residents say is the heaviest fighting in the capital since the revolt began.

July 18 - Army barracks near the “palace of the people”, a huge Soviet-style complex in the western Damascus district of Dummar, come under rebel fire.

— Bomb attack on a meeting of ministers and senior security officials in Damascus kills Defence Minister Daoud Rajha, senior military official General Hassan Turkmani and Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, a former intelligence chief. Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar is seriously wounded.

July 19 - Russia and China veto U.N. Security Council resolution threatening Syria with sanctions if it does not stop using heavy weapons in towns.

— Clashes erupt near government headquarters in Damascus’ Ikhlas neighborhood near the Council of Ministers. Opposition sources and a Western diplomat say Assad is now in the coastal city of Latakia.

Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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