Syria-Israel Timeline

Syrian President Hafez Hassad, 69, who died Saturday of heart failure, was one of the key figures in the middle-east for more than three decades, but Syria's on-going fued with Israel dates back to World War II.

November 1947: Syria opposes U.N. General Assembly partition plan envisaging Jewish and Arab states side by side.

May 1948: British mandate ends, Jews proclaim state of Israel. Syria and other Arab armies invade.

July 1948: Israel and Syria sign armistice agreement but on-and-off hostilities continue.

March 1963: Hafez al-Assad and other Syrian army officers seize power in bloodless coup. A 20-man National Council for the Revolutionary Command set up, with Assad air force commander.

June 1967: Israel launches surprise attack on Syria, capturing strategic Golan Heights in Six Day War.

November 1967: U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 242 calling for Israel to pull out of occupied Arab lands and for recognition of all states under the formula "land for peace."

November 1970 After years of infighting within the ruling Baath party, Assad overthrows Salah Jadid and becomes president of Syria. Launches "Correctionist Movement" to purge rivals and restore national unity.

October 1973: Led by Assad, Syria joins Egypt in attacking Israel. Syrians penetrate deep into the Golan before being pushed back by Israeli troops.

May 1974: Israel-Syria disengagement agreement reached through mediation of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. U.N. observer force positioned in buffer zone from then on.

November 1977: Syria opposes Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem, emerges as leader of "steadfastness front" of Arab states which reject subsequent U.S. brokered Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

December 1981: Israeli parliament imposes Israeli law on the Golan Heights.

June 1982: Israel invades Lebanon with avowed aim of halting Palestinian guerrilla attacks, withdraws bulk of its forces in 1985, but with allies, keeps control of a border security zone.

April 1987: In Moscow, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev tells Assad reliance on military force in settling Arab-Israeli conflict is no longer credible. Gorbachev says Moscow will no longer support Syrian doctrine of strategic parity with Israel.

November 1990: Assad meets U.S. President George Bush in Geneva ahead of Gulf war, agree on action against Iraq for invading Kuwait in August. Assad approves principle of peace talks with Israel.


October: Syria joins Jordan, Lebanon and Palestinians at groundbreaking U.S.-brokered peace conference with Israel in Madrid.

December: Syria begins direct peace negotiations with Israel in Washington. They continue intermittently making little progress until September 1993 when temporarily suspended.


July: Having defeated Yitzhak Shamir's hardline Likud party in elections, Labour Party leader Yitzhak Rabin becomes Israeli prime minister vowing to accelerate peace moves with Arabs.


January: U.S. President Bill Clinton meets Assad in Geneva, discusses Syria's stalled peace talks with Israel. Arab-Israeli peace talks resume in secret locations in United States. Syria attends negotiations, which are first with Israel since September 1993, but talks suspended in March after several rounds of negotiations yield no progress.

July: U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher meets Assad in Damascus for second time since April to try to find way to revive Syrian-Israeli peace talks. Three months later, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara holds similar talks in Washington.

October: Clinton becomes the first U.S. president to visit Damascus since 1973, holds talks with Assad aimed at advancing peace moves towards Israel. Clinton then flies to Israel proclaiming Syria definitely wants to make peace "but is having difficulty getting there."


June: Damascus refuses to resume talks on security arrangements unless Israel drops demand for early-warning stations on Golan in any handover to Syria.

November: Right-wing Jew opposed to land-for-peace deals with Arabs assassinates Rabin at rally in Tel Aviv. Shimon Peres succeeds Rabin and promises to uphold his peace legacy.

December: On Middle East mission, Christopher meets Assad in Syria and Peres in Israel. All agree to send negotiators to talks. Israel and Syria resume peace talks at secluded conference centre in Maryland, east of Washington.

1996 March: After four suicide bombings by Palestinian Islamic militants in which total of 59 people die, Israel withdraws its team from negotiations with Syria.

April: United States announces that Israel, Syria and Lebanon agreed to resume peace talks "as soon as possible" in written but unsigned ceasefire document ending 16 days of fighting between Israeli forces and Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas on both sides of Israeli-Lebanese border.

May: Right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly defeats Peres in Israeli elections on hardline platform against land-for-peace deals.

July: Clinton's Middle East envoy Dennis Ross makes peace trip to Damascus but fails to revive Israeli-Syrian talks.


February: Assad wins referendum granting him further seven-year term as president.

May: Labour leader Ehud Barak, former army chief of staff and ex-negotiator with Syria, beats Netanyahu by landslide in Israeli elections.

June: Syrian President Assad heaps unexpected praise on Barak in newspaper interview with Assad's British biographer. Assad calls Barak "a strong and honest man" who wants peace with Syria.

July: Barak takes office and pledges to work to advance peace with Syria and to withdraw Israeli troops from south Lebanon within one year.

December: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says after meeting Assad in Damascus she is optimistic about restarting the talks stalled since March 1996.

Clinton announces in Washington that Israel and Syria have agreed to resume peace talks.

Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara meet at the White House for peace talks at the highest level ever. 2000

January: Israeli-Syrian peace talks resume in United States in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Talks break off later in month over Syrian demand that Israel agree in advance to withdraw to lines it held on eve of 1967 war.

March: Israel formally sets July deadline for troop withdrawal from south Lebanon, putting pressure on Damascus which has used Israel's desire to leave Lebanon as a bargaining chip in talks.

Barak says Syria talks will need to resume by May if Lebanon pullback is to be part of broader peace treaty rather than unilateral act.

March: Summit in Geneva between Clinton and Assad ends in failure.

May 24: Israel ends 22-year occupation of South Lebanon. Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres says Israel hopes to live like "good neighbors" with Lebanon but accuses Assad of missing "the plane of peace."

June 10: Assad dies aged 69. Syrian parliament amends constitution to allow son Bashar, 34, to succeed him.

— Reuters contributed to this report.