June 20, 2011 / 1:33 PM / 6 years ago

Timeline: Violence in Syria

LONDON, June 20 - Here is a timeline of events in Syria since protests started in March.

March 16 - Security forces break up a gathering in Marjeh square in Damascus of 150 protesters holding pictures of imprisoned relatives. Witnesses say 30 people are arrested.

March 23 - Syrian forces kill six people in an attack on protesters in the Omari mosque in Deraa and open fire on hundreds of youths marching in solidarity.

-- President Bashar al-Assad sacks Deraa governor.

March 24 - Assad orders the formation of a committee to raise living standards and study lifting the law covering emergency rule, in place for 48 years.

March 29 - Government resigns.

March 31 - Assad sets up a committee to look into replacing the emergency law with anti-terrorism legislation.

April 3 - Assad asks Adel Safar, a former agriculture minister to form a new government.

April 8 - Demonstrators protest across Syria; 22 people killed in Deraa, according to security sources. In the east, thousands of ethnic Kurds demonstrate for reform.

April 9 - A Syrian rights group accuses security forces of committing a crime against humanity by killing 37 people during Friday’s nationwide demonstrations.

April 14 - Assad unveils a new cabinet and orders the release of detainees arrested during a month of protests.

April 19 - Government passes bill lifting emergency rule. Assad ratifies the law ending emergency rule two days later.

April 22 - Security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad kill at least 100 protesters, a rights group says.

April 23 - Security forces fire on mourners calling for the end of Assad’s rule at mass funerals of pro-democracy protesters shot a day earlier, killing at least 12 people.

April 25 - Troops and tanks pour into Deraa, killing 20.

April 29 - The United States imposes new sanctions on Syrian figures including Assad’s cousin Atif Najib and his brother Maher, who commands the army division which stormed Deraa.

-- Some 50 members of the ruling Baath Party resign, according to a human rights activist.

May 3 - Security forces take control of the coastal city of Banias, where demonstrators have challenged Assad.

May 9 - Assad sends tanks to Homs, Syria’s third city.

May 10 - EU sanctions come into effect. The EU had agreed to impose travel restrictions and asset freezes on up to 13 Syrian officials for their part in the crackdown.

May 12 - Tanks advance in the southern towns of Dael, Tafas, Jassem and al-Harra before Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.

May 20 - Security forces kill at least 44 civilians in protests across Syria, a Syrian human rights group says.

May 23 - The EU adds Assad and nine other senior members of the government to a list of those sanctioned.

June 2 - Syria’s exiled opposition calls on Assad to resign and hand over power to the vice president until a council is formed to transform the country to democracy, says a communique issued by 300 opposition delegates in Turkey.

June 3 - Security forces kill 63 protesters around Syria. At least 53 were killed in Hama.

June 4 - In the town of Jisr al-Shughour, between the city of Latakia and Aleppo, at least 120 members of the security forces are killed, state television says.

June 8 - Turkey calls on Syria to rein in violence against civilians and promises not to turn away refugees.

-- Britain, France, Germany and Portugal hand the U.N. Security Council a draft resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown on protesters, despite the risk of a Russian veto.

June 10 - At least 36 protesters are shot dead across Syria activists say.

June 12 - Armed forces take control of Jisr al-Shughour as thousands of residents flee to Turkey.

-- The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group organising protests, says the crackdown has killed 1,300 civilians since February.

June 17 - Activists say security forces kill 19 protesters as thousands rally across the country.

-- Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the president, and focus of anti-corruption protests, is quitting business, state media says.

June 18 - Armed forces storm the town of Bdama, a town which has been providing food to thousands of Syrians who have escaped from frontier villages but stayed in Syria.

June 20 - Assad says “saboteurs” are behind unrest against his rule and that no political deal can be reached with gunmen.

-- In his third speech since protests began, Assad pledges to pursue a national dialogue on reform and holds out the prospect of expanding a recent amnesty. Assad also calls on the 10,000 refugees who have fled to Turkey to come home.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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