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Two years of conflict in Syria

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The bloody conflict in Syria began nearly two years ago as peaceful protests for reform in the wake of the Arab Spring, but soon morphed into bitter civil war as the regime cracked down.

The United Nations says that more than 70,000 have been killed since the uprising started, while one million have become refugees and millions displaced.

MARCH 2011

- 15: First protests after calls on Facebook for a "Day of Dignity."

- 18-27: Crackdowns in Damascus, Banias and Daraa, cradle of the uprising, where 100 people are reportedly killed on the 23rd.

APRIL

- 25-26: Protests spread and strengthen, with calls for Bashar al-Assad's regime to fall.

AUGUST

- 18: US President Barack Obama and his allies urge Assad to quit. Western and Arab states later impose sanctions on his regime.

OCTOBER

- 2: Creation of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC).

JUNE, 2012

- 16: UN observers, deployed to monitor an April ceasefire deal which was not respected, suspend operations.

JULY

- 18: Four senior security officials, including Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, killed in a Damascus bombing.

- 19: Russia and China for the third time veto a UN Security Council resolution that would threaten sanctions against Assad.

- 23: Regime forces say they have reclaimed most of Damascus after days of unprecedented clashes.

- 28: The military launches a dawn assault on Syria's economic capital Aleppo.

NOVEMBER

- 11: The opposition signs a unity deal in Doha to form a national coalition, led by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

- 29: The regime launches a major offensive around the capital.

DECEMBER

- 11: Washington puts key Syrian rebel group the Al-Nusra Front on its terror blacklist, citing Al-Qaeda links, a day after the Islamist jihadist faction captures a key army base.

- 22: NATO accuses the Syrian regime of firing Scud-style missiles at rebels.

JANUARY, 2013

- 6: Assad offers a road map to end the civil war, under which he would stay in power. The opposition rejects it.

- 26: NATO says that a Patriot missile battery is operational on Turkey's border with Syria.

- 30: Khatib says he is ready for conditional talks with Assad's regime.

FEBRUARY

- 3: Israel implicitly confirms carrying out an air strike on a military site in Syria in late January.

- 22: A spate of bombings across Damascus kills at least 83 people.

- 28: Washington says it will provide non-lethal direct aid to the rebels.

MARCH

- 6: Rebels detain 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.

- The northern city of Raqa comes under total rebel control, in their biggest victory to date.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130309/two-years-conflict-syria