This is the 5th year in conflict for the Syrian Refugees.
Syria is at the centre of one of the world’s most critical humanitarian emergencies. Syria is now besieged by internal conflict that has uprooted millions of families. An estimated 3.2 million people fled the country and have taken refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. One average, one family flees Syria every minute.
A U.N.-backed report from the UNRWA suggests that life expectancy due to the civil war has been decreased by 20 years since 2011. Syria is now the world’s largest source of refugees.
5 years is a long time and has been extremely challenging for the people of Syria. Life shouldn’t be a horror movie.
It’s not too late. Help now.
How you can help:
Islamic Relief’s efforts to help Syrian refugees
Timeline of Events
Sources: Al Jazeera and BBC
The Syrian conflict has been growing in intensity and scope for more than four years.
Here are some of the key events in the conflict:
2011: Protests, crackdown and condemnation
- Protests were held in different parts of the country (Damascus, Banias and Deraa), inspired by other uprisings in the Arab world (commonly referred to as the Arab Spring)
- In protesting for democracy, the government responded in violence, and 100 people were reportedly killed on the 23rd (Al Jazeera).
- Army tanks began entering Derra, Banias, Homs and suburbs of Damascus in an effort to crush anti-regime protests.
- According to the government, ‘armed gangs’ in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour killed 120 members of the security forces.
- Hundreds of people are left dead by Syrian security forced backed by tanks and snipers in the city of Hama (epicenter of anti-regime protests).
- The US, Britain, France, and Germany, and the European Union demand that Assad resign
- The Syrian National Council is formed, the first opposition coalition of diverse groups seeking an end to Assad’s rule.
- Arab League votes to suspend Syria’s membership.
- The Arab League overwhelmingly approves sanctions against Syria to pressure Damascus to end the crackdown, an unprecedented move against an Arab state.
- Back-to-back car bombs near Syria’s intelligence agencies in Damascus kill at least 44 in the first major attack in the heart of the capital. Syria’s state-run TV blames al-Qaeda fighters.
- Syrian security forces open fire on thousands of anti-government protesters in the central city of Hama, one day ahead of a visit by Arab League observers on a mission to end the crackdown.
2013: Chemical attack and rebel infighting
- A defiant Assad blames “murderous criminals” for violence in Syria, ignores international demands to step down and pledges to continue the battle “as long as there is one terrorist left” in Syria.
- Syrians warplanes bomb the northern city of Raqqa after rebels seize control.
- The leader of the self-declared Jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released a recorded audio message, in which he announces that Jabhat al-Nusra was an extension of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. The leader of al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Joulani, refuses the merger. Divisions and infighting among the ranks of the self-labelled jihadists emerge.
- The European Union ends restriction on sending weapons to help Syrian rebels.
- Obama authorises sending weapons to Syrian rebels after White House discloses that US has conclusive evidence Assad’s government used chemical weapons on a small scale against opposition forces.
August and September:
- UN weapons inspectors conclude that chemical weapons were used in attack on the Ghouta area of Damascus in August that killed about 300 people, including many children as they slept. Responsibility for the attack was not explicitly allocated, but sources suggest it was the Assad regime.
2015: Ongoing conflict with no end in sight
- Kurdish forces push Islamic State out of Kobane on Turkish border after four months of fighting.
- Opposition offensives push back government forces. New Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) Islamist rebel alliance, backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, captures provincial capital of Idlib.
- Southern Front alliance of secular and Islamist groups take Jordanian border crossing at Nassib.
- Islamic State fighters seize the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria, raising concerns that they might destroy the pre-Islamic World Heritage site.
- They also capture last border crossing to Iraq.Jaish al-Fatah takes control of Idlib Province, putting pressure on government’s coastal stronghold of Latakia.
- Islamic State and Kurdish fighters intensify fighting between Raqqa and Turkish border. Kurds take Ain Issa and border town of Tal Abyad, Islamic State attacks Kobane and seizes part of Hassakeh, the main city in north-eastern Syria.
- Russia carries out first air strikes in Syria, saying it targets the Islamic State group. But West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels instead.
- Britain joins US-led bombing raids against Islamic State in wake of Paris suicide bombing attacks. Syrian Army allows rebels to evacuate remaining area of Homs, returning Syria’s third-largest city to government control after four years.
2012: Massacres as international diplomacy fails
- The Arab League halts its observer mission in Syria because of escalating violence.
- Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, announces its creation. Since then it has been described as “one of the most effective rebel forces” in Syria
- Russia and China veto a resolution in the UN Security Council that backs an Arab League plan calling for Assad to step down.
- The UN says that more than 7,500 people have died since the security crackdown began.
- UN statement falls short of a formal resolution, and violence continues into the summer
- Syrian troops take control of shattered Bab Amr in Homs after a government assault that raged for weeks. The main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, forms a military council to organise and unify all armed resistance.
- Syria promises to comply with a UN-brokered ceasefire but carves out an important condition – that the regime still has a right to defend itself against terrorists that it says are behind the uprising. The agreement ultimately fails to hold.
- A massacre in Houla village in Homs leave more than 100 killed, nearly half of them children. The UN Human Rights Council later releases a report accusing Assad’s forces and pro-government militiamen of war crimes during the bloodbath.
- UN observers suspend patrols in Syria due to escalating violence.
- A blast at the National Security building in Damascus kills the defence minister and his deputy, who is also Assad’s brother-in-law, and wounds the interior minister. Rebels claim responsibility.
- The Free Syrian Army (FSA) claims responsibility for two explosions at the military headquarters in Damascus.
- Fire in Aleppo destroys much of the historic market as fighting and bomb attacks continue in various cities.
- Syrian anti-government groups strike a deal to form the Syrian National Coalition, a new opposition leadership that will include representatives from the country’s disparate factions fighting to topple Assad’s regime, responding to repeated calls from their Western and Arab supporters to create a cohesive and representative leadership.
2014: Failed peace attempts and presidential election
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes the first round of peace talks in Geneva involving the Syrian government and Syrian National Coalition.
- A second round of the Geneva talks is held; representatives of government and opposition fail to agree on agenda; Joint Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi apologises to the Syrian people for lack of progress in the talks. He resigns in May.
- Syria holds a presidential election in government-held areas. More than one person could stand as a presidential candidate for the first time since the Assad family came to power more four decades ago.
- The establishment of a new “caliphate” was announced by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) and the Levant, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named as caliph. The group formally changed its name to “Islamic State”.
- The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Syria allowing aid convoys to go into rebel-held areas without government approval
- Tabqa airbase, near the northern city of Raqqa, falls to Islamic State militants, who now control entire Raqqa province.
- United States and five Arab countries launch air strikes against Islamic State around Aleppo and Raqqa.