As Syrians mark the fifth anniversary of the uprising against President Bashar Assad, here are some of the key events in the conflict:
March 2011: Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces’ detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 15, a protest is held in Damascus’ Old City. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Demonstrations spread, as does the crackdown by Assad’s forces.
April 2011: Security forces raid a sit-in in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, where thousands of people tried to create the mood of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests against Egypt’s autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
June 2011: Police and soldiers in Jisr al-Shughour in northeastern Syria join protesters they were ordered to shoot, and the uprising claims control of a town for the first time. Elite government troops, tanks and helicopters retake the town within days.
August 2011: President Barack Obama calls on Assad to resign and orders Syrian government assets frozen.
July 2012: A bombing at the Syrian national security building in Damascus during a high-level government crisis meeting kills four top officials, including Assad’s brother-in-law and the defense minister.
Summer 2012: Fighting spreads to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its former commercial capital.
August 2012: Kofi Annan quits as UN-Arab League envoy after his attempts to broker a cease-fire failed. Obama says the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line” that would change his thinking about military action.
March 2013: After advancing in the north, rebel forces capture Raqqa, a city of 500,000 people on the Euphrates River and the first major population center controlled by the opposition.
May-June 2013: Backed by thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, Assad’s forces re-capture the strategic town of Qusair from rebels, near the border with Lebanon.
August-September 2013: A chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs kills hundreds. Obama, blaming Assad’s government, says the US has a responsibility to respond and puts it up to a vote in Congress. Russia proposes instead that Syria give up its chemical weapons, averting military strikes.
October 2013: Syria destroys its chemical weapons production equipment. The number of Syrian refugees registered with the UN tops 2 million.
January 2014: Infighting among rebels spreads, pitting a variety of Islamic groups and moderate factions against the al-Qaida-breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
February 2014: Two rounds of peace talks led by UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva end without a breakthrough.
9 May: Rebels withdraw from the old quarter of the central city of Homs in a significant symbolic victory for the government.
13 May: Brahimi resigns as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, marking a second failure by the United Nations and Arab League to end the civil war.
3 June: Syrians in government areas vote in presidential elections. Assad, one of three candidates, overwhelmingly wins with 88.7 percent.
June: The Islamic State group, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is now known, seizes large parts of northern and western Iraq. In control of around a third of Syria and Iraq, it declares a self-styled Islamic caliphate.
3 July: Islamic State group takes control of Syria’s largest oil field, al-Omar, after fierce battles with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s branch in Syria.
19 August: Islamic State militants release video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, the first of five Westerners to be beheaded by the IS group.
Mid-September: IS begins offensive to take Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, on the Turkish border.
23 September: US-led coalition begins airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria.
January 2015: UN estimates Syria’s conflict has killed at least 220,000 people and uprooted nearly a third of the prewar population of 23 million from their homes.
26 January: With the help of US-led airstrikes, Kurdish fighters take control of Kobani.
3 February: IS releases a video of captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death in a cage.
28 March: The northwestern city of Idlib falls to Islamist groups led by the Nusra Front.
6 May: President Bashar Assad acknowledges serious setbacks for his military.
30 September: Russia begins launching airstrikes in Syria in support of Assad’s forces.
14 November: Seventeen nations meeting in Vienna adopt a timeline for a transition plan in Syria that includes a new constitution as well as UN-administered parliamentary and presidential elections within 18 months.
18 December: The UN Security Council adopts resolution 2254 endorsing the Vienna road map for a transitional period in Syria.
3 February 2016: Indirect peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva collapse a few days after starting, over a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive in Aleppo.
22 February: The US and Russia announced a partial cease-fire in Syria will start on Feb. 27.
9 March: The UN’s Syria envoy says indirect peace talks will resume in Geneva on March 14.