Ted Thornton
History of the Middle East Database
Benchmarks in the History of Syria

Origins of Key Geographical Terms


History by Region or State


History by Time Period


Special Topics









Crucial Pre-Modern Benchmarks

Early Medieval Period, 661-1091

First Arabic printing press, 1706

Syrian Umayyad Monuments

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem


1832: Egypt invades Syria.

1840: British ultimatum to Egypt.

1866: Syrian Protestant College founded (later known as the American University in Beirut).

1916: Secret Talks by France and Great Britain on dividing the Middle East between them (Sykes-Picot Agreement).

1918: British capture Syria.

1919, July: Syrian National Congress demands independence.

1919, August:  Report of the King-Crane Commission.

1920: French overthrow King Faisal; beginning of French Mandate rule.

1925-1927: Syrians rebel against French Mandate rule.

1941: British occupy Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

1943: Shukri al-Quwwatli becomes Syria's first president. 

1946: French leave Syria and Lebanon; Baath Party achieves formal recognition.

1948: War with Israel; three coups take place in Syria. (see also Golan Heights)

1958-1961: Syria united with Egypt.

1963, March: Baath Party seizes power in Syria.

1963, August: Syria and Israel skirmish.

1964, November: Syria and Israel skirmish.

1966: Baathist purge.

1967, June: War with Israel; Syria's Golan Heights occupied.   More on the Golan.

1970: Syrian involvement in Jordan's "Black September."

1971-2000: Presidency of Hafez al-Asad.

1973: War with Israel.

1976, August: Syria intervenes in Lebanon.

1981, December: Israel annexes Syria's Golan Heights. More on the Golan.

1982: Hama uprising.

1986: Hindawi Affair.

1989, Fall: Taif Accord ending civil war in Lebanon. Syria pledges to help keep the peace.

1989: Easing of Cold War tensions impacts Syria.

1996: Syria feels threatened by Israel-Turkey defense pact. 

1999: Three way power play between Hizbullah, Syria, Israel.

2000, February: Fresh tensions between Israel and Syria.

2000, June: Syria's President Hafez al-Asad dies and is succeeded by his son, Bashar.

2001, March: Private banks permitted in Syria.

2001, April: Israeli air attack on Syrian positions.

2001, June: Syria pulls troops back from Beirut to Bekaa Valley.

2003, spring: American pressure on Syria.

2003, October: Israeli jets bomb Syrian targets.

2004, March: Syrian Kurds riot.

2004, May: American boycott against Syria.

2004, September: Syrian political pressure on Lebanon.

2005, February: Syria blamed for assassination of Lebanese former PM Hariri. (see also)

2005, April 26: The last Syrian troops withdraw from Lebanon.

2005, June: Signs of turmoil inside Syria.

2005, October 31: Syria chastened in UN for obstructing investigation into Hariri assassination.

2006, January 1: Ba'ath Party expels former V.P. Khaddam.

2006, February 11: President Bashar al-Asad reshuffles his cabinet.

2006, May 17: U.N. calls on Syria to cease meddling in affairs of Lebanon and forge formal ties.

2006, June 28: Israeli jets "buzz" areas of Syria.

2007, Winter: Rumors of secret peace talks between Israel and Syria.

2007, May 27: President Assad elected to new term.

2008, October: Syria establishes diplomatic ties with Lebanon.

2008, October 27: U.S. raid on Syria.


Why does Syria seek to influence what happens in Lebanon? -- See Taif Accord, 1989.


Top of Page

email: tthornton@nmhschool.org

Last Revised: October 30, 2008