By Michelle Lin

  1. 2000: Assad family rises to power in 1971 and has ruled Syria for nearly 40 years. Current president, Bashar al-Assad, begins his regime in 2000, succeeding his father, Hafez al-Assad.
  2. March 2011: Hundreds of people stage protests in Damascus, calling for democratic reform and demanding for more civil liberties. Security forces open fire on demonstrators, resulting in the first few deaths of the uprising.
  3. July 2012: Fighting breaks out in Aleppo, the largest city and the former commercial capital of Syria. Rebels seize control of a large part of the city, leaving it in ruins.
  4. November 2012: Syrian National Coalition is created, bringing together the main opposition factions. Conflict has increased to include several world powers and the rise of the jihadist groups, especially Islamic State.
  5. August 2013: The regime allegedly uses chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people.
  6. September 2013: Many rebel groups renounce their desires for a democratic government; instead, the Islamic Front is created to build a state governed by Islamic law.
  7. 2014: The Islamic State (IS), the al-Qaeda breakaway in Iraq, has taken control of large parts of Syria’s territory. Fighting between IS and a variety of Islamists groups spreads.
  8. 2015: Nearly 4 million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict in search of a better life, and many of these refugees are seeing help from neighboring countries. Syria’s education, health, and social welfare are in states of collapse.

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