(Reuters) - Following is a timeline of events in Syria since protests began:
March 16, 2011 - Security forces break up a gathering in Marjeh Square in Damascus of 150 protesters holding pictures of imprisoned relatives.
March 24 - President Bashar al-Assad orders the formation of a committee to study how to raise living standards and lift the law covering emergency rule, in place for 48 years.
March 29 - Government resigns.
April 3 - Assad asks Adel Safar, a former agriculture minister, to form a new government.
April 14 - Assad presents a new cabinet and orders the release of detainees arrested during a month of protests.
April 19 - Government passes bill lifting emergency rule.
April 22 - Security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad kill at least 100 protesters, a rights group says.
May 23 - European Union imposes sanctions on Assad and nine other senior members of the government.
June 27 - Syrian intellectuals call for sweeping political change at a rare conference allowed by the authorities.
July 8 - Thousands rally in Hama calling for Assad to go; U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier visit the city to show support for protesters.
July 31 - Syrian tanks storm Hama, residents say, after besieging it for nearly a month. At least 80 people are killed.
August 7 - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah recalls his ambassador from Syria. Kuwait recalls its envoy the next day.
August 18 - U.S. President Barack Obama calls on Assad to step down.
August 21 - Assad says he expects parliamentary elections in February 2012 after reforms allowing new parties to take part.
September 2 - The European Union imposes a ban on purchases of Syrian oil and warns of further steps unless crackdown ends.
September 15 - Syrian opposition activists announce members of a Syrian National Council to provide an alternative to government.
October 4 - Russia and China veto a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria.
November 2 - Syria agrees in principle to an Arab League plan to withdraw its army from cities, free political prisoners and hold talks. The next day activists say security forces killed 11 people in Homs.
November 12 - The Arab League suspends Syria.
November 16 - Army defectors attack an Air Force Intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus. The Free Syrian Army, set up by deserters, is led by Colonel Riad al-Asaad, based in Turkey.
November 19 - Assad vows to continue crackdown on protests. He says there will be elections in February or March.
November 27 - Arab states vote to impose economic sanctions.
November 30 - Turkey says it has suspended all financial credit dealings with Syria and frozen Syrian government assets.
December 2 - The European Union imposes sanctions on three Syrian oil firms including state-owned Sytrol.
December 5 - Syria says it has conditionally approved an Arab League peace plan. Syria demands the annulment of sanctions plus reinstatement in the regional bloc.
December 7 - Assad denies ordering his troops to kill peaceful demonstrators, telling the U.S. television channel ABC that only a "crazy" leader kills his own people.
December 11 -- Opposition activists say they have shut down much of Damascus and other towns with a strike.
December 12 - Syria holds local elections as part of what it says is a reform process. Critics say the vote is irrelevant.
December 13 - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reports the death toll from nine months of unrest has risen to more than 5,000.
- Syria has said more than 1,100 members of the army, police and security services have been killed.
December 15 - Russia offers the U.N. Security Council a new, stronger draft resolution on violence in Syria. Western envoys say the Russian text is still too weak, but they are willing to negotiate over it.
December 16 - About 200,000 people march in separate districts of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
December 17 - An Arab League ministerial panel meets to address Syria's stance on the Arab peace plan.
December 19 - Syria signs the Arab League peace plan, agreeing to let observers into the country to monitor implementation of the deal to pull troops from protest-hit towns, free political prisoners and start talking to dissidents.
(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)
Did you find this article insightful?