News / Middle East

Months of Unrest Led to US Call for Assad to Resign

An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube shows Syrian anti-government demonstrators marching in the coastal city of Latakia on August 12, 2011 (AFP cannot independently verify the content of this video.)
An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube shows Syrian anti-government demonstrators marching in the coastal city of Latakia on August 12, 2011 (AFP cannot independently verify the content of this video.)

Tensions in Syria began to build early in the year with the rise of the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and other north African and Middle Eastern countries. Syrian government forces have tried to quell the protests in the country with deadly force. Rights groups and activists say at least 1,800 civilians have been killed since the start of the government's crackdown in March. It is hard to verify the accounts of the violence because the government has barred most foreign media from reporting and traveling freely in the country. The Obama administration on Thursday called on the Syrian president to step down.  

Timeline of major developments

March 16: Syrian security forces in Damascus break up an opposition protest calling for the release of political prisoners. Some demonstrators are detained.

March 24: The Syrian government announces a series of reforms, including the first suggestion that emergency laws, in place since 1963, might be lifted. Proposed reforms include measures to raise salaries for public employees and fight unemployment.

March 29: The Syrian government resigns, but President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. Rallies in support of the president take place in several cities, including the capital, Damascus.

April 14: President Assad announces a new 31-member government. He orders the release of detainees arrested in the wave of protests, except those convicted of "criminal acts."

April 19: The Syrian government approves an end to emergency laws that ban public demonstrations and restrict the media. President Assad ratifies the decision two days later. But the government threatens harsh reprisals if unrest continues.

April 29: The U.S. imposes new sanctions on Syria, targeting its intelligence agency and two relatives of the president. U.S. officials warn the penalties could be expanded to include President Assad.

May 23: European foreign ministers announce sanctions against President Assad and nine members of his government.

June 20: President Assad blames the uprising on "saboteurs" outside the country. He pledges to hold parliamentary elections, work to create new political parties, and amend the constitution. But he says he will not implement change amid chaos.

June 29: The U.S. Treasury Department imposes sanctions on Syrian security forces in connection with the lethal crackdown on protesters. It accuses agents of Syria's political security unit of opening fire and killing demonstrators in  incidents in March and April.

July 7-8: U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier visit the city of Hama to show support for thousands of protesters there.

July 10: Syrian opposition members boycott talks with the government to protest the crackdown on demonstrators.

July 15: A Human Rights Watch official says that some 17,000 people have been detained since March and detention centers are extremely overcrowded. He says his group has documented torture and brutal beatings.

August 7-9: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain withdraw their ambassadors from Syria. Arab League Secretary General Nabil al Arabi urges Syria to "stop all acts of violence." Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meets with President Assad in Syria to call for an end to the violence.

August 17: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks by telephone with President Assad, saying he is alarmed at reports of excessive use of force by the government and widespread human rights violations. Ban also calls for an independent investigation of the violence.

August 18: The United States calls for Assad's resignation. U.S. President Barack Obama calls for the Syrian president to step aside and announces new sanctions on Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the transition to democracy in Syria has begun and calls on Assad to "get out of the way."

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid