June 2000- Bashar Al Assad become president June 2001- Syrian troops evacuate Beirut, redeploy in other parts of Lebanon, following pressure from Lebanese critics of Syria's presence November 2001 - British PM Tony Blair visits to try shore up support for the campaign against terror. He and President Assad fail to agree on a definition of terrorism. April 2003 - US threatens sanctions if Damascus fails to take what Washington calls the "right decisions". Syria denies US allegations that it is developing chemical weapons and helping fugitive Iraqis. September 2003 - President Assad appoints Mohammed Naji al-Otari prime minister. October 2003 - Israeli air strike against Palestinian militant camp near Damascus. Syria says action is "military aggression". March 2004 - At least 25 killed in clashes between members of the Kurdish minority, police and Arabs in the north-east. May 2004 - US imposes economic sanctions on Syria over what it calls its support for terrorism and failure to stop militants entering Iraq. February-April 2005-Tensions with the US escalate after the killing of former Lebanese PM Hariri in Beirut. Washington cites Syrian influence in Lebanon. Damascus is urged to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, which it does by April. September 2006 - Attack on the US embassy in Damascus. Four gunmen open fire and throw grenades but fail to detonate a car bomb. Three of them are killed, one is captured. April 2007 - US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets President Assad in Damascus. April 2008 - The US accuses North Korea of having helped Syria to build a secret nuclear reactor at the site bombed by Israel in 2007. September 2008 - . Explosion kills 17 on the outskirts of Damascus, the most deadly attack in Syria in several years. Government blames Islamist militants. June 2009 - The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says traces of undeclared man-made uranium have been found at second site in Syria a reactor in Damascus. The IAEA was investigating US claims that the site destroyed in the 2007 Israeli raid was a nuclear reactor. May 2010- US renews sanctions against Syria, saying that it supports terrorist groups, seeks weapons of mass destruction and has provided Lebanon's Hezbollah with Scud missiles in violation of UN resolutions. March 2011 - Protests in Damascus and the southern city of Deraa demand the release of political prisoners. Security forces shoot a number of people dead in Deraa, triggering days of violent unrest that steadily spread nationwide over the following months. June 2011 - The government says that 120 members of the security forces have been killed by "armed gangs" in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour. Troops besiege the town and more than 10,000 people flee to Turkey. President Assad pledges to start a "national dialogue" on reform. February 2012-Twin suicide bombs outside security buildings in Damascus kill 44, the first in a series of large blasts in the the capital that continue into the following summer. Opposition accuses government of staging these and subsequent attacks. June 2012 - President Assad tells his reshuffled government that they face "real war", indicating the authorities' conviction that the conflict will be long-lasting and require the sidelining of all other priorities. July 2012 - Free Syria Army blows up three security chiefs in Damascus and seizes Aleppo in the north. A government offensive to recapture the city makes only limited headway. September 2012- The Free Syrian Army claims responsibility for two explosions at the military headquarters in Damascus. The government says four guards were killed in the "suicide attacks". March 2013 - Syrian warplanes bomb the northern city of Raqqa after rebels seize control. US and Britain pledge non-military aid to rebels, and Britain and France propose lifting European Union arms embargo. Rebel National Coalition elects interim "prime minister", US-educated technocrat Ghassan Hitto. April 2013 - US and Britain demand investigation into reports government forces used chemical weapons. Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi narrowly escapes death in bomb attack in centre of Damascus.