March 15: Several dozen people march in Damascus after a Facebook call for a “Day of Dignity”. It is the first overt protest in Syria since the 1963 state of emergency. was declared in 1963.

March 18: Four protesters killed and dozens wounded by security forces in Daraa, which becomes the centre of the protests.

March 23: Many people killed in Daraa after security forces open fire on protesters. The government blames the violence on an “armed gang”.

March 24: Activists say around 100 people were killed in Daraa, but the government puts the toll at 10. An adviser to President al-Assad says “important decisions” will be taken.

March 25: In Daraa, demonstrators tear down a statue of former President Hafez al-Assad. Human rights group says 17 protesters shot dead in a village as they march towards Daraa. Syria’s information minister says the country is “totally calm” and blames events on “terrorists”.

March 26: Unrest spreads to the coastal town of Latakia. The regime frees 260 political prisoners. An office of the Baath Party is burned down in Tafas, near Daraa.

March 27: Troops are deployed in Latakia, where at least 15 people are killed, many by snipers.

March 28: A top adviser to Mr al-Assad says the 48-year-old state of emergency will be lifted. Parliament holds a minute of silence in honour of those killed. Two missing Reuters journalists are released.

March 29: Hundreds of thousands of Syrians throng the streets of central Damascus and other cities in a show of support for Mr al-Assad. The government resigns.

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