Syria crackdown continues - deadline near

2012-04-09 18:48

London - A brief timeline of the unfolding uprisings in Syria includes the following highlights.

March 15 2011 - About 40 people join a protest in Hameediyeh market in Old Damascus, chanting political slogans in a brief first challenge to the Baath Party before dispersing into side streets.

April 19 - Government passes bill lifting 48 years of emergency rule.

July 31 - Syrian tanks storm Hama after a month-long siege.

Nov. 12 - Arab League suspends Syria.

Nov. 27 - Arab states vote to impose economic sanctions.

Nov. 30 - Turkey says it has suspended all financial credit dealings with Syria and frozen Syrian government assets.

Dec. 7 - President Bashar al-Assad denies ordering his troops to kill peaceful demonstrators, telling US television channel ABC that only a "crazy" leader kills his own people.

Dec. 19 - Syria signs Arab League peace plan, agrees to let monitors into the country.

Jan. 22, 2012 - Arab League urges Assad to step down and hand over power to a deputy, a call Syria rejects a day later.

Jan. 24 - The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council says it is withdrawing its 55 monitors from the 165-strong monitoring mission. Syria agrees to extend mission for a month. Four days later the Arab League suspends the monitoring mission.

Feb. 4 - Russia and China veto resolution in UN Security Council, backed by Arab League, calling for Assad to step down.

Feb. 16 - The UN General Assembly approves a resolution endorsing the Arab League plan calling for Assad to step aside.

Feb. 23 - Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is appointed UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.

Feb. 24 - Foreign ministers from more than 50 countries meet in Tunis for the inaugural "Friends of Syria" meeting. Russia and China, allies of Syria, decide not to attend.

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

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

March 11 - Kofi Annan ends talks with Assad and leaves Syria with little sign of progress. Assad tells Annan that opposition "terrorists" are blocking any political solution.

March 13 - Assad sets parliamentary elections under his country's new constitution for May 7.

March 15 - Activists say they are sickened by e-mails which appear to show Assad and his wife shopping for luxury items while the country descends into bloodshed, a day after Britain's Guardian newspaper said it obtained some 3 000 e-mails from Assad and his wife, Asma.

March 21 - Russia and China join the rest of the UN Security Council in throwing its weight behind Annan to end the conflict.

March 27 - Syria has accepted the UN-sponsored peace plan, Annan says.

-- Assad visits the Baba Amr former rebel stronghold in Homs, apparently to make the point that he can now tour the streets of the once bitterly fought-over district.

-- UN raises toll to more than 9 000 civilians killed.

March 29 - Ban Ki-moon joins Arab leaders at an Arab League summit in Baghdad and urges Assad to implement a U.N.-backed peace plan to end the violence. Damascus had said it will reject any initiative taken at the summit.

March 31 - Syria says the revolt is over, but the army shells opposition areas and rebels say they will not cease fire until tanks, artillery and heavy weapons are withdrawn.

April 1 - At a second "Friends of Syria" meeting, western and Arab nations warn Assad not to delay adopting the peace plan and call on Annan to set a timetable for action.

April 2 - Annan tells the Security Council that Syria has accepted an April 10 deadline for ending military operations, with the opposition under pressure to cease fighting within 48 hours of that.

April 8 - Syria demands written guarantees insurgents will stop fighting before it pulls back troops under the terms of a UN peace plan.

-- Annan says an "unacceptable" escalation in violence in Syria violates guarantees made to him.

April 9 - Stray bullets from clashes between Syrian soldiers and rebel fighters along the Turkish border wound at least five people, including two Turkish officials, in a refugee camp in Turkey, officials say.

-- China urges Syria and opposition groups to abide by promises to cease fire.