Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect
SMC fail to become a broad-based coalition.
    December 2012: The United States puts al-Nusra on its list of terrorist organizations, citing its affiliation with al-Qaeda.
    December 2012: United States and some allies recognize the new National Coalition as the Syrian people's “legitimate representative.”
    January 2013: Israeli jets attack a Damascus military research center, claiming to stop shipments of Syrian arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Rebel groups regularly fire rockets and mortars into Damascus, often hitting civilian areas.
    March 2013: A coalition of the FSA and Islamist rebels take Raqqa, capital of Idlib Governate. Syrian air force begins intensive bombing of rebel-controlled area. Khan Al Asal faces a small attack with chemical weapons. Rebels blame Assad. The Syrian government says it was rebels and presents evidence to UN inspectors months later.
    April 2013: The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an al-Qaeda affiliate, changes its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and the al-Sham [the Levant] (ISIS), openly admitting its activities in Syria.
    May 2013: A rebel commander, Abu Sakkar of the Farouq Brigades, eats the internal organs of a Syrian soldier to show his contempt for the government. The resulting video causes widespread revulsion. Government troops massacre Sunni civilians in the district of Baniyas. Pro-Assad militia kills over three hundred people. A bomb attack almost assassinates Syrian prime minister Wael Nader al-Halqi. Israel launched two different missile strikes at a warehouse allegedly storing advanced surface-to-surface missiles and other weapons.
    June 2013: Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters take back control of Qusayr in northwest Syria. The government hails the victory as a turning point in the war, but the battle proves pyrrhic. At a Cairo conference of Sunni clerics, over one hundred prominent imams sign a declaration calling for jihad in Syria.
    July 2013: ISIS engages in increasingly brutal actions in the parts of Idlib Governate it controls, including beheading of FSA commanders. Civilians in Raqqa complain about ISIS repression and imposition of a harsh version of Shariah law. Israel attacks a missile depot in Latakia.
    August 2013: ISIS claim credit for capturing the Mennagh airbase, north of Aleppo, after a nine-month siege.
    August 2013: Sarin gas attack kills hundreds of civilians living in rebel-controlled areas near Al Ghouta outside Damascus. Assad blamed the rebels. President Obama announces plans to bomb Syria, but popular opinion forces him to back down. Russia and the United States pressure Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons.
    September 2013: UN weapons inspectors confirm use of chemical weapons in Al Ghouta but don't say who was responsible.
    November 2013: Rebels attack the military vehicle depot in Harasta, just north of Damascus. Rebels dig a tunnel and plant bombs under the administrative building, killing over 150 soldiers and several generals. Israel again attacks a Latakia missile depot originally bombed in July.
    November 2013: Major rebel groups form the Islamic Front with the aim of creating an “orthodox Islamic state.” The front excludes al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels as well as the FSA.
    December 2013: In a huge setback for the Western powers, the Islamic Front seizes US weapons and supplies in FSA warehouses in Atmeh, Syria, near the Turkish border. The United States and Britain temporarily suspend nonlethal aid to the rebels.
    January 2014: Al-Nusra, al-Tawheed, and other rebel groups attack ISIS in Raqqa, freeing civilian and rebel prisoners. Fighting also breaks out among rebel groups in Aleppo. A Qatar-funded report from a Syrian defecting police photographer indicates the government killed and tortured over eleven thousand people in security forces’ prisons. Geneva II peace talks begin in Switzerland. The West wants to discuss establishing a transitional government, but the Assad representatives insist on discussing only rebel

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