Syria - Country history and economic development

1250. Mamluks take control of most of Syria.

1516. Syria is incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

1869. The opening of the Suez Canal leads to a decline in Syria's economic importance.

1916. The Sykes-Picot agreement between Great Britain and France, made during World War I, places Syria and Lebanon under French "influence."

1922. The League of Nations approves the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.

1945. Syria becomes a member of the United Nations.

1946. Syria and Lebanon declare their independence from France.

1948. In the Arab-Israeli war, Syria joins the joint Arab forces fighting against Israel.

1958. Establishment of the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union of Syria and Egypt. Egyptian Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes president of the union and dissolves all political parties in Syria. He also introduces regulations on the size of land property.

1961. Opposition to the UAR grows in Syria, particularly against the socialist economic policies implemented by Nasser. The army takes control of Damascus, and declares a new independence for Syria.

1963. The Ba'athist party takes control of the country.

1967. In the Six Day War, Israel seizes the Golan Heights from Syria.

1970. Hafez Assad seizes power in a "corrective coup."

1971. Assad is elected president for a 7-year term in a plebiscite (a vote of the people).

1973. Syria and Egypt go to war with Israel to retake the Golan Heights.

1976. The Syrian army intervenes in the Lebanese civil war.

1981. Israel formally annexes the Golan Heights.

1982. An Islamic extremist uprising in Hama is crushed and thousands are killed. Israel invades Lebanon.

1987. Assad sends troops into Lebanon for a second time to enforce a cease-fire in Beirut.

1990. Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Syria joins the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq. This leads to improved relations with Egypt and the United States.

1991. Syria participates in the Middle East peace conference in Madrid, and holds bilateral talks with Israel. The Damascus Declaration aid and defense pact is signed with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

2000. Assad dies and is succeeded by his son, Bashar, soon afterwards.

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