Timeline: Syria in Lebanon

Syrian troops were invited into Lebanon during the civil war and stayed for two decades.

The last Syrian soldiers left Lebanon in April 2005 [EPA]

Syria and Lebanon have agreed to establish diplomatic ties, opening embassies in each other’s capital for the first time since their independence from French colonial rule in the 1940s.

The region was one country, called Greater Syria, when Europe’s first world war victors divided the Ottoman empire.

But the French aligned with the Maronite Christians of Lebanon and created an autonomous region for the Maronites in their ancestral home of Mount Lebanon.

The French combined the predominantly Muslim Bekaa Valley and the ancient coastal cities with Mount Lebanon, effectively creating the modern-day countries of Syria and Lebanon.

The relationship between the two neighbours has been troubled ever since.


June 6: About 6,000 Syrian troops cross into neighbouring Lebanon at the request of Christian groups threatened with defeat in the country’s civil war.

October: Almost 30,000 troops from the so-called Arab Deterrent Force, formed by Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, deploy across Lebanon. The majority of the soldiers are provided by Damascus.

Christian districts of Beirut are shelled by the Syrian army after it allies itself with Lebanon’s Palestinian and Muslim forces.


September: Israel captures Beirut forcing the Syrian army to withdraw to the Bekaa Valley, close to the border with Syria.


May: Israel and Lebanon sign a peace deal brokered by the United States. Damascus opposes the accord and it is later annulled by the Lebanese parliament.


February: With Shia Muslim and Druze fighters clashing on the street of West Beirut, about 8,000 Syrian soldiers are deployed in an attempt to restore calm.


March 14: Michel Aoun, a leading Christian figure, declares  a “war of liberation” against Syrian troops after they attack the presidential palace and the ministry of defence in Yarze.

October 22: The Lebanese national assembly, meeting in Taif, Saudi Arabia, endorses a Charter of National Reconciliation, which leads to the end of the civil war and becomes the country’s news constitution.

The Taif agreement calls for a Syrian pullback to the eastern Bekaa Valley, but does not set a date for a total withdrawal.


October 13: The Syrian air force attacks the presidential palace and Aoun takes refuge in the French embassy.


May 22: Lebanon and Syria sign the Treaty of Brotherhood and Co-operation, which recognises the dominant role of Syria.

October 15: Emile Lahoud, the pro-Syrian head of the Lebanese army, is elected as the country’s president.


A mass rally in 2005 demanded the end of Syrian influence in Lebanon [EPA]

December: Hundreds of Syrian soldiers leave Beirut and redeploy around the Bekaa Valley.


April 16: The Israeli air force attacks a Syrian position after a Hezbollah raid in the Shebaa Farms area. The majority of Syrian forces leave Beirut and its surrounding areas.


September 2: UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1559 calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon and respect for its sovereignty.
The Lebanese parliament passes a controversial constitutional amendment giving Lahoud another three years in office, and one month later,  Rafiq al-Hariri, the prime minister resigns. Pro-Syrian Omar Karami is appointed in his place.


February 14: Raqfiq al-Hariri is killed in a bomb blast in Beirut, which the anti-Syrian opposition accuses Damascus of having ordered. Syria denies any involvement.

March 14: Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gather in Beirut demanding an end to Syrian influence in Lebanon.

April 26: Last Syrian soldiers leave Lebanon.

June 2: Samir Kassir, a journalist and vocal critic of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, is murdered. A number of attacks, mainly against anti-Syrian figures, follow.

June 20: Parliamentary elections give a majority to anti-Syrian parties, including one led by Saad al-Hariri, son of Rafiq al-Hariri.


May 17: UN Resolution 1680 calls on Syria to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon and mark their common border. The move is rejected by Damascus.

November 21: Pierre Gemayal, the industry minister and a member of the March 14 alliance opposed to Syrian influence in Lebanon, is assassinated. He is the fifth anti-Syrian minister to be killed in two years, but Damascus denies any involvement in his killing.


May: The UN Security Council agrees to set up an international tribunal to investigate the killing of al-Hariri.


May 7: An attempt by the government to curb Hezbollah, supported by Syria and Iran, leads to a week of deadly sectarian clashes.

June 5: Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, says Damascus will open an embassy in Lebanon once a national unity government is formed.

July 11: National unity government formed.

July 12: Al-Assad and Michel Sleiman, the Lebanese president, meet in Paris and the establishment of diplomatic ties is announced.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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