Islam and the Middle East; key historical events

See also North Africa for events relating to the Islamic World

See separate page for Egypt

See Israel for events relating to the Palestinian State

Page last modified 1/8/2019


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See also Iraq

See also Eastern Europe for events relating to Muslims in former Yugoslavia

See also Iran


Click here for map of Islamic world,1960 and 2010.

This map shows the percentage of population that is Islamic in most world States. Islam has been the most successful religion of the 20th century, in terms of growth in numbers. In 1960 the Islamic world was largely regional, consisting of the Maghreb and SW Asia, a belt from Morocco to Pakistan – along with partially Muslim areas in the southern USSR, Sahelian Africa and parts of SE Asia. In 2010 every continent has at least one State that is over 2.0% Islamic. Mid-Africa and Europe have seen very significant growth in Islam.

Reliable statistics on religion are not available for all States in 2010,and certainly not for 1960. In some cases States have split along broadly ethnic lines, changing a part-Islamic State in 1960 into a strongly Islamic one and a less Islamic one; for example less-Islamic South Sudan has split from Sudan, and the former USSR has split with the more-Islamic ‘stan’ States gaining independence since 1990. In one country, Turkey, the Islamic percentage has declined, due to more people reporting ‘no religion’ as the country has secularised since 1960. This is a relative decline; absolute numbers of Muslims in Turkey in 2010 still exceed the 1960 figure.


Colour key:


ISIS (not Syria) from 2013

Syrian Civil War 2011-now

Arab Spring

Iraq Kuwait War I 1990-91

Lebanese conflict, hostages 1975-91

Oil events

World War Two

Formation of Saudi Arabia

Anglo-French division of Middle East

Arab – Byzantine conflict


Jordan – see Appendix 2

Lebanon – see Appendix 3

Saudi Arabia – see Appendix 4

Syria – see Appendix 5

Yemen – see Appendix 6


15/3/2011, Arab Spring: state of emergency in Bahrain.

20/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Morocco and Iraq. Meanwhile over 200 people were killed during protests in Benghazi, Libya.

18/2/2011, Police opened fire on protestors in Bahrain.

14/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Bahrain and Jordan, also Benghazi in Libya.

12/2/2011, Clashes between demonstrators and police in Algiers.

See also Egypt for protests against Preisdent Mubarak

25/1/2011, Arab Spring protests in Egypt and Lebanon,

14/1/2011, In the turmoil of the Arab Spring, the Tunisian Government fell after a month of protests.

4/1/2011, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi died after setting fire to himself on 17/12/2010. This sparked anti-government protests in Tunisia and other Arab nations, which became known as the Arab Spring.

1712/2010, The Arab Spring began when a Tunisian graduate set fire to himself in protest at police who stopped him trading without a permit, after he had failed to secure paid employment.

11/11/2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (born 1929) died of a brain haemorrhage and was buried in Cairo, aged 74. Mahmoud Abbas took over as head of the PLO.

7/8/2003, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, who played a key role in the Bali nightclub bombing in 2002, was sentenced to death by firing squad.

12/10/2002. A large bomb hit the Sari nightclub in Bali, a popular holiday destination for Australians and other Westerners, and the only Hindu island in the otherwise Muslim republic of Indonesia. 202 died and over 300 were injured, mostly Australian tourists. Al Quaeda, the organisation which hit the USA on '9-11', 2002, was blamed. Australia had been instrumental in helping East Timor to achieve independence from Indonesia, and the decadence of Bali did not fit with Islamic ideals.

20/8/1998, The USA launched attacks against the Al Shifa pharmaceuticals and chemical plant  in Sudan and cruise missile attacks against Al Quaeda bases in Afghanistan in retaliation for the 7/8/1998 embassy bombs.

7/8/1998. Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terrorists bombed the USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people, and wounding over 4,000.

14/12/1993. Yasser Arafat, PLO leader, made his first official visit to Britain.

30/10/1992, A Middle East peace conference began in Madrid, Spain.

14/3/1992, The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al Ahmed al Sabah, returned home.

1/1992, The self-proclaimed Muslim Parliament of Great Britain met for the first time. This meeting was prompted by the Salman Rushdie affair.

6/11/1991. The last of the oil wells set alight in Kuwait by retreating Iraqis was extinguished.

4/3/1991, The Kuwaiti Crown prince returned to Kuwait. There was massive destruction in Kuwait and much had been looted. Almost all of Kuwait’s 950 oil wells had been set on fire, creating a vast pall of black smoke and an oil slick covering hundreds of square kilometres in the Gulf. The Kuwaiti authorities began to impose martial law but there were determined calls for democratic reform in Kuwait.

27/2/1991, Saudi forces entered Kuwait City, evacuated by Iraqi invaders. US forces had moved in behind the Iraqi army and cut off its retreat. The US lost 184 men; the Allies took 80,000 Iraqi prisoners and an estimated 80-100,000 Iraqi soldiers died. Kuwait would take an estimated US$ 50 billion to rebuild, and Iraq would cost US$ 200 billion.

4/1/1989, British Muslims in Bradford ritually burnt a copy of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

20/4/1987, In Algiers, the Palestinian National Council re-elected Arafat as leader, but with reduced power.

27/12/1985, At Rome and Vienna airports, Abu Nidal terrorists opened fire, killing 18 and injuring 120.

7/10/1985. Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean, killing a US passenger. The terrorists surrendered two days later.

1/6/1985, A TWA airliner flying from Athens to Rome was hijacked by Islamist terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut, where the hostages were held for 17 days.

1/12/1984, King Hussein of Jordan held talks with President Mubarak of Egypt on peace initiatives for the West Bank.

See also Israel for Israeli attacks in Lebanon

1981, The Gulf Co-operation Council was set up, by countries bordering the Persian Gulf

25/11/1981, An Arab Summit Conference in Fez quickly reached deadlock over peace plans for the Middle East.

22/6/1981, Hamas attacked a travel agent in Greece, killing two people.

7/6/1981. Israeli planes bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor then under construction at Osirak, Iraq.

1978, The Regents Park Mosque opened in London.

14/12/1978. Newsweek looked at the growing influence of Islam in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

12/1/1976, The UN Security Council voted 12-1 to admit the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

7/1/1975, OPEC agreed to raise crude oil prices by 10%.

14/10/1974, The United Nations recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

23/12/1973. OPEC quadrupled the price of crude oil.

For Yom Kippur war see Israeli history.

1/6/1972. Iraq nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company.

2/12/1971. United Arab Emirates established.

1/9/1971, Qatar became independent.

14/8/1971. Bahrain became independent.

1970, Until this year Oman was virtually a mediaeval feudal state, with internal travel banned; Omanis were expected to remain near the village they were born in. TV’s radios, even books and glasses, were banned until then.

30/11/1967. The British withdraw from Aden, and the Republic of South Yemen was formed.

1/9/1967, At a meeting in Khartoum, the Arabs decided to lift the oil embargo that had been imposed on the West since the Six Day War.

1966, A ‘neutral zone’ between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was divided between the two countries.

14/5/1963, Kuwait was admitted to the United Nations.

1962, Oil production began in Abu Dhabi.

12/1962, Libya centralised its government. The previous federal system, of four provincial governments and one central authority, produced too much inter-provincial rivalry.

20/7/1961, In a move to thwart Iraqi claims on Kuwait, the Arab League admitted Kuwait as a member.

1/7/1961. British troops were stationed in Kuwait in case of an attack by Iraq. In June 1961 Kuwait gained independence from Britain and a week later Iraq called for ‘a return of Kuwait to the Iraqi homeland’. On 30/6/1961 Kuwait requested assistance from the UK, and Royal Marines were sent out. The British troops remained for two years.

25/6/1961, Iraq claimed newly-independent Kuwait as Iraqi, on the grounds that both had been part of the Ottoman Empire and arbitrarily divided by Britain.

19/6/1961, Kuwait became independent.

7/1959, After two years of unsuccessful exploration by oil companies in Libya, the large Zelten Field was discovered in the Sirte Basin. In 1963, Libyan crude oil exports exceeded 20 million tons, and reached 125 million tons in 1968.

1/8/1958, King Hussein dissolved the federation of Jordan with Iraq.

5/3/1958, Syria accused King Saud of organising a plot to overthrow the Syrian regime and destroy the union of Syria and Egypt.

14/2/1958, The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was proclaimed.

1957, The Eisenhower Doctrine was declared by the USA. President Eisenhower stated that the Middle East was vital to its interests and it would give military aid to any country on the region that requested it. This Doctrine was aimed at curbing the influence of the USSR in the region.

19/7/1957, The Imam of Oman rebelled against the Sultan of Oman, who requested British aid.

11/7/1957. The Aga Khan died in Versoix, Switzerland. He was born in Karachi on 2/11/1877, and during World War One, when Turkey was drawn in on the German side, the Aga Khan was instrumental in reassuring the Moslems of the British Empire that the Allies had no plans against Islam and to stay loyal to Britain. In 1937 he was appointed President of the League of Nations. He spent World war Two in Switzerland and withdrew from further political activity. In 1946, the year of his 60-year jubilee celebration, he was twice weighed by his subjects and paid a sum of diamonds of equivalent weight. The sum of US$3,600,000 which resulted was used by the Khan for building schools and other community projects in Pakistan. He was also famous as a breeder and trainer of racehorses, winning the Epsom races five times.

16/1/1957. UK forces repelled an attempted invasion of the colony of Aden by Yemeni forces. Aden was annexed from Yemeni territory by the British in 1839 as a military stronghold and naval fuelling station. Yemeni forces managed to overrun some villages just inside Aden but were repelled by ground based rockets and air fire.

31/3/1956, The last British soldiers left Egypt, and 74 years of British military presence in Egypt ended, as the Grenadier Guards and Life Guards embarked at Port Said, Suez.

21/11/1955, The first meeting of the Permanent Council of the Baghdad Pact, later called CENTO, was held.

24/2/1955, Turkey and Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact. This was an alliance of mutual support against Communist activity within their borders or as an external threat. Iran joined later in 1955.

2/5/1953, King Hussein II became King of Jordan, succeeding his father King Talal, who was deposed in August 1952.

23/4/1952, The oil pipeline between Kirkuk and Banias was completed.

1948, The huge Al-Ghawar oilfield in Saudi Arabia was discovered.

1946, Kuwait’s oil revenue in its first year of commerciasl production was just US$ 500,000. This rapidly became hundreds of millions of dollars a year by the early 1950s.

24/8/1946, Elijah Muhammad was released from prison in Milan, Michigan after four years, and became the Nation of Islam's undisputed leader.

2/12/1945, The Arab world began a general boycott of Israel, to geographically isolate the country. The boycott was to cover not just companies trading with Israel or with Israeli companies but also companies doing business with these companies. In 1977 the US, under President Carter, declared it illegal for US companies to participate in this boycott. In the 1990s Israel insisted upon the dismantling of the boycott, which was estimated to have cost the country some US$ 40 billion, as part of the Peace Process. In 2001, however, the Arab League’s Boycott Office resumed activities as part of its support for the Palestinians during the Intifada.

22/3/1945, The Arab League was formed.  The treaty was signed in Cairo this day, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen as members.  The League was intended to promote inter-Arab cultural, technical, and economic links, and to minimise conflict between Arab states, but it remained a loose association with no central authority. In 1979 the headquarters of the Arab league was moved from Cairo to Tunis, after Egypt was suspended for signing a peace treaty with Israel. It returned to Cairo in 1992.

24/2/1945, Egypt declared war on Germany, largely to secure a place in the post-War United Nations. The announcement of war was made to the Egyptian Parliament by Ahmed Maher; as Maher left the Parliament he was assassinated, probably by the Muslim Brotherhood.

2/4/1942, The British under Sir Miles Lampson forced their way into the Abdin Palace, Cairo, and demanded that King Farouk either abdicate or invite Nahas to form a Wafd Party government. King Farouk was friendly with the Italians, and like many Egyptians had pro-Axis sympathies, simply because they believed an Axis victory would rid Egypt of the British. Meanwhile Rommel was advancing from Libya into western Egypt. Success for Rommel would cut the Suez Canal and sever naval communications with India. Lampson hoped that Farouk would abdicate but instead he chose to appoint Nahas, whose Wafd Party were pro-British.

For main European events of World War Two see France-Germany

14/7/1941, A crisis caused by a pro-Axis coup in Syria in May 1941 came to a conclusion. The Vichy French administration in Syria had allowed Germans the use of Syrian airfields to support Iraqi Nationalist rebels fighting British administration in Iraq. Britain declared that Marshal Petain had breached an undertaking not to act against the former allies of France, and invaded Syria with a mixed army of British and Free French troops. Heavy fighting occurred around Beirut between 8/7 and 14/7, although Damascus was spared. An armistice signed on 14/7 gave French troops and civilians in Syria and Lebanon the choice of repatriation to France or joining Free French forces.

1/7/1940. Britain was concerned that the French colonial administration in Lebanon and Syria had submitted to Vichy rule. Britain was determined that Axis forces should not occupy this region and mounted a naval blockade of Syria and Lebanon, causing severe shortages in both countries. Meanwhile Arab Nationalists were demanding independence from French control.

23/2/1938, Oil was discovered in Kuwait. This was the large Burgan oilfield.

13/12/1936. Aga Khan born.

19/1/1936, The Aga Khan III, leader of the Ismaili community, was given his weight in gold, 16 stone, worth about £25,000 to mark his Golden Jubilee (£3.5 million in 2016) to use on social projects.

19/5/1935. T.E. (Thomas Edward) Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, died six days after a motorcycle accident in a country lane in Moreton, Dorset; he swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles, and crashed. Colonel Lawrence was sent to Saudi Arabia to gain information about an Arab revolt in the Arabian desert. Lawrence realised this revolt could be used to disrupt the Turkish war effort. He persuaded the British Army in Egypt to supply guns, armoured cars, and even aircraft. With these, Lawrence led the Arabs on strategic attacks on railways and captured the town of Aqaba. The Arabs then supported the British advance in Palestine. Lawrence was furious when after the War, the Arabs were not given independence.

14/1/1935, The Iraq – Mediterranean (Kirkuk to Haifa)  oil pipeline was inaugurated.

14/7/1934, The oil pipeline from Mosul, Iraq, to Tripoli, Lebanon, opened.

1932, First major oilfield found in Bahrain.

1930, In the USA, the Nation of Islam was founded by Wali Farad (originally Wallace D Fard), who proclaimed that Black Americans were descendants of an ancient Muslim tribe.

1929, Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, was born (died 2004).

7/12/1929, Agha Khan III was married at a private ceremony in Aix les Bains, France, to a former candy store clerk and dressmaker. He was founder and first President of the all-India Muslim League.

20/2/1928. Britain recognised the independence of the Kingdom of Transjordan (now Jordan).

18/10/1925. The French fleet bombarded Damascus following a Druze insurrection that began on 18/7/1925.

18/7/1925, Insurrection by the Druze in Syria, against French rule.

4/2/1925, Robert Koldeway, the archaeologist who excavated Babylon, died.

21/7/1921, The Spanish army was defeated by Moroccan nationalists at Annual.  The Spanish sustained over 12,000 casualties.  Adb-E-Krim, nationalist leader, was eventually defeated by a Franco-Spanish force in 1926. Abd E Krim was held on the island of Reunion till 1947 but was then given permission to live in France.  However he succeeded in escaping to Egypt where he became an inspiration to Arab nationalism generally.

18/12/1920. Britain and France agreed on the borders of Syria and Palestine.

24/7/1920. A French expeditionary force occupied Damascus and the port of Aleppo. The Emir Faisal, installed by the British in March, fled.

5/5/1920, Britain and France rejected a declaration of Syrian independence and, hastily convening a meeting of the Supreme Council of the League of Nations, they declared the intention of dividing Lebanon from Syria (both under French control) and Iraq (undivided) under British control.

For main European events of World War One see France-Germany

29/9/1911. Italy declared war on Turkey, having been assured of the neutrality of other European countries.  The Italian Navy bombarded Preveza, and Italian forces landed at Tripoli and in Cyrenicia. This was in retaliation for the alleged mistreatment of Italians in Libya. The Italians expected the Arabs to welcome them as liberators from Turkish rule, but instead the Arabs sided with the Turks in resisting Italian rule. In May 1912 Italy invaded some islands off Turkey, including Rhodes, to put further pressure on Turkey. Then Italy had some unexpected good fortune when in 1912 Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece started the Balkan War against Turkey, forcing the Ottomans to surrender Libya to Italy. However Arab resistance continued and despite a permanent Italian garrison of 50,000 troops Italian rule only covered Tripoli and other major towns. At least, though, Italy could now claim to have its own African colony.

3/8/1910. Muslim Druzes killed 100 Jews in Palestine.

14/4/1903, Bulgarians massacred 165 Muslims in Macedonia.

1890, Britain’s first mosque opened, at Woking, Surrey.

23/3/1889, The Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India.

15/8/1888, T E (Thomas Edward) Lawrence, British soldier and writer known as Lawrence of Arabia, was born at Tremadoc, Wales.

1867, The Deoband, or House of Learning, was established as a centre of Islamic theology in India by Muhammad Abid Husain in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

1853. The ‘pirate coast’along the south of the Persian Gulf was notorious for pirates originating frim here, and venturing as far as the the Arabian and Red Seas. In 1853 Britain forced the sheikhs of this coast to sign a Treaty of Perpetual Peace, still in force today, protecting the East India Company’s ships from India. This gave the region the name of Trucial Oman.

16/1/1839. The British took over Aden, annexing it to British India.  This followed the mistreatment of a British crew shipwrecked there in 1837 and the Sultan’s failure to sell the town to the British as promised by his father.

1734, The Koran was first translated into English.

See also Turkey for more on Ottoman Empire

27/5/1529, Ad-Din Barbarossa completed his conquest of Algeria (Algiers fell, 1518), bringing the Ottoman Empire to its peak.

1500, Islam reached Brunei.

1440, Islam reached Ternate, the Spice Islands.

1414, Islam, having reached Sumatra in the late 1300s, came to Malacca in 1414.

24/2/1304, Ibn Battutah, Arab explorer, was born in Tangier Morocco.

1471, The Portuguese captired the Moroccan port of Tangier.

1400, The Mongols under Tamerlane destroyed Damascus and in 1401 went on to sack Baghdad. However Christian Europeans were disappointed when Tamerlane decided he had been insulted by the Chinese Emperor and took his forces back eastwards.

1260, A Mongol Army was defeated by Egyptian forces on the shores of Lake Galilee.

10/12/1198, Abu al Walid, also known as Averroes, Arab philosopher, was born in Marrakesh, Morocco.

2/12/1187. Jerusalem surrendered to Saladdin (see 2/11/1192). Saladdin was born in 1138, in Tikrit (Saddam Hussein’s native town) of Kurdish parents and  was educated in Syria. In 1164 he accompanies his uncle on a military campaign in Egypt. The aim was to substitute Sunni for Shia Islam there, and also to drive the Crusader Franks out of the Levant. The local Syrian leader died in 1174 and Saladdin defeated his 11 year old successor and seized power. The Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad gave Saladdin power over all the lands from Morocco to Syria; Saladdin later extended his rule into Mesopotamia. Saladdin also subdued the Assassins, a Muslim sect that had twice tried to kill him. He now attacked the Crusaders, and on 1 July 1187 captured Tiberias after a six day siege.

After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladdin, the Franks were almost evicted from the region, holding on only at Antioch, Tripoli, and Tyre. European states set aside their differences in panic and three rulers; Richard I of England, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and Philip Augustus of France, set out on a third Crusade. The Crusaders marched on Muslim-held Acre, Saladdin arrived, and there ensued a long battle, control swinging back and forth. After two years, Acre fell to the Crusaders. Peace negotiations began, (see 2/11/1192), the end result being a marriage of his daughter with Saladdin’s brother, Al-Malik, who was knighted by Richard. The peace gave the coast to the Europeans and the interior to the Muslims. In February 1188 Saladdin fell ill with a fever and died 12 days later aged 55.

4/7/1187, The Battle of the Horns of Hattin (an extinct volcano crowned with two rocky outcrops). Saladin’s 20,000 strong army defeated Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem. Guy de Lusignan had made a tactical error in attempting to relieve Saladin’s siege of Tiberias. Thirst drove Lusignan’s troops to drink at a nearby lake, where Saladin then attacked them.

1017, Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmed  declared that the Fatimid Caliph Al Hakimbi-Amr Allah was God, thereby starting the Druze religion.

908, The province of Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia, name equivalent to ‘Africa), declared independence from Baghdad. From Ifriqiya came the Fatimids, radical Shiites who claimed descent from Muhammed’s daughter, Fatima. The fatimids belonged to the radical Isma’ili Shiite sect, which supported violent overthrow of ‘illegitimate’ Sunni regimes; they were at odds with the Twelver Shiites, who supported peacefully awaiting the ‘hidden twelfth Imam’. In 969 the Fatimids invaded Egypt.

860, The Caliphs had made the mistake of bringing in Turkic horsemen as part of a ‘slave army’. By this year the Turkic soldiers virtually ran things leaving the caliphs powerless. The caliphs resorted to selling off entre provinces to emirs (=military governors) whp paid a lump sum and then kept all taxes from the province for themselves. See 945.

800, The Islamic world began to split between a faction (=Shia) who belived that caliphs flowing and owing their position to, the murder of Ali were in position illegally; and the other side, the Sunnis, who followed custom (=Sunna) who wanted to carry on as usual with the chain of existing caliphs.

800, The astrolabe was in common usage across the Islamic world. It was used to gather astronomical data, and to determine the correct prayer times. See also maritime travel, 1481.

22/3/765, The Sixth Imam was killed, poisoned by Caliph al-Mansur.

17/4/744, Walid II, Islamic leader, was killed. He was succeeded by Yazid III.

26/1/724, (-) Yazid II, Islamic leader, died. He was succeeded by Hisham.

9/2/720, Omar II, Islamic leader, died. He was succeeded by Yazid II.

682, Arab Islamic armies seized what is now Morocco from the Vandals. The Vandals had taken the region, thern known as Mauretania, from the Roman Empire in 429 AD.

10/10/680. Al-Husayn, son of Ali, was killed in battle at Kerbala. He was fighting a rival caliph (successor), Yazid, a Sunni Moslem of the Ummayad dynasty. His death gave birth to Shi’ism; a dissident group of Moslems who claimed that only the descendants of Mohammed could rightfully interpret the Koran. They saw Al-Husayn as a martyr.

656, Uthman, the third caliph (khalifa, meaning both ‘successor’ and ‘deputy to God) was assassinated. Ali, Muhammed’s younger cousin and son-in-law, became caliph.

652, Death of Abbas, uncle of the Prophet Mohammed, who gave his name to the Abbasid Dynasty.

651,A standardised version of the Quran was issued by Caliph Uthman.

642, Caliph Umar was assassinated. Uthman promoted the formal writing down of the Quran.

17/9/642. Alexandria, Egypt, surrendered to the Arabs led by Amr Ibn Al-As. Amr invaded Syria in 633 and attacked Egypt in 639, taking Pelusium in January 640 and Heliopolis in June 640. In 646 Amr defeated a Greek attempt to retake Alexandria. Amr died, as governor of Egypt, on 6/1/664. The Arabs moved on south to conquer Nubia, also conquering Cyrenicia and Tripolitania in 643.

6/7/640, The Battle of Heliopolis was fought between Arab Muslim armies and the Byzantine Empire.

15/8/636. The Byzantine army was crushed by the Moslem Arabs at the Battle of Yarmuk, on the River Yarmuk, east of the Sea of Galilee. The Arabs, who took Damascus in 635, now controlled all of Syria. In 637 the Arabs destroyed the Persian army at the Battle of Qadisiyya. Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs in 638 under Caliph Umar.

30/7/634, The Byzantine army of Emperor Heraclius, defending Damascus against an alliance of Arab raiders, was defeated by Khalid at the Battle of Ajnadayn in southern Palestine.

For pre-Islamic events in North Africa see Roman Empire


For early history of Israel and the Jews, also Babylon, Assyria, see Judaism


For Persian Empire see Iran


Appendix 2 – Jordan

25/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Jordan.

7/2/1999, King Hussein of Jordan (born 1935) died of cancer.  His son became King Adbullah II of Jordan.

9/10/1984, Jordan mended relations with Egypt when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited Amman. Egypt had been despised by the Arab world since the late President Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with |Israel at Camp David in 1979. Now King Hussein of Jordan met with Arab hostility for mending relation with Egypt, a move sparked by problems in the Jordanian economy arising from a downturn in trade resulting form the Iran-Iraq war.

7/7/1972, Talal bin Abdullah, King of Jordan, died.

1/12/1971, King Hussein of Jordan ruled out any further talks with Palestinian guerrillas after the assassination of Wasfi Tell on 28/11/1971.

28/11/1971, Palestinian terrorists assassinated Wasfi Tell, Prime Minister of Jordan.

27/9/1970, PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a truce with King Hussein of Jordan after the PLO had been ejected from Jordan in a 10-day fight known to the PLO as Black September.

10/2/1970, Jordan imposed greater controls on guerrilla activity.

4/8/1968, Israeli aircraft bombed Palestinian bases in Jordan.

2/11/1958. Last British troops left Jordan.

17/7/1958, British troops landed at Mafrak, 50 miles north of the Jordanian capital Amman, in order to protect the monarchy in that country. King Abdullah of Jordan was, like the assassinated King Faisal of Iraq (14/7/1958) a Hashemite, and there was resistance also in Jordan, like Iraq, from Bedouins who saw the Hashemite rulers as colonial impositions. Further British troops arrived by sea at Aqaba. China and the USSR protested. King Abdullah attempted to appease his Arab neighbours by removing the British troops. Nevertheless King Abdullah’s plane was attacked by Syrian fighters whilst he was on route to a holiday in Europe, and he was ordered to land at Damascus. King Abdullah ignored this order and returned to Amman. Bad relations between Syria and Jordan continued.

28/4/1957, King Hussein of Jordan visited King Saud of Saudi Arabia. The two rulers agreed that the crisis in Jordan is a purely internal affair; Saudi Arabia paid the first instalment of financial aid to Jordan.

25/4/1957, King Hussein proclaimed martial law in Jordan; the USA despatched the 6th fleet to the Mediterranean. On 29/4/1957 the USSR protested at this move.

24/4/1957. In Jordan, Ibrahim Hashem formed a conservative, pro-Western, government following demonstrations.

11/8/1952. Hussein became King of Jordan. He was pro-Western, like the Saudi ruler, King Saud, and supported Arab Nationalism against a growing movement for Arab Socialism.  His father, King Talal, had been deposed by the Jordanian Parliament due to mental illness.

20/7/1951. King Abdullah of Jordan was shot dead in Jerusalem by an Arab Nationalist.  Other Arab leaders were jealous of his leadership of the Palestinians, and his grandson Hussein, aged 15 in 1951, became King of Jordan a year later.

2/3/1950, Tawfik Abu al-Huda resigned as Prime Minister of Jordan for reasons of health, but also because he did not want to ‘be party to a settlement with Israel’.

2/6/1949. Transjordan was renamed Jordan.

25/5/1946. Transjordan (Jordan) proclaimed its independence, with Emir Abdullah ibn Husayn as King. Husayn (born 1882) was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1951.

14/11/1935, King Hussein of Jordan was born in Aman, son of King Talal.

25/5/1923, The State of Transjordan, now Jordan, became independent.


Appendix 3 – Lebanon

11/4/2017, Samir Frangieh, Lebanese leftist politician (born 12/4/1945) died.

25/1/2011, Arab Spring protests in Lebanon,

26/4/2005, Syria withdrew the last of its 14,000 soldiers from Lebanon, ending a 29-year military occupation of that country.

4/12/1991. The American correspondent Terry Anderson was freed by Islamic Jihad after 2,454 days in captivity. Held since 16/3/1985, he was the longest-held kidnap victim in Lebanon.

18/11/1991, Terry Waite was released from captivity in Lebanon (see 20/1/1987), along with another hostage, Tom Sutherland.

14/2/2005, Rafik Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon, died.

21/10/1991. The American Jesse Turner was released after five years as a hostage in Lebanon.

8/8/1991. Hostage John McCarthy came back to the UK after 5 years and 3 months kidnapped in Beirut.

13/10/1990, Syrian forces invaded Lebanon and ousted General Michel Aoun’s government. This consolidated Syria’s 14-year occupation of Lebanon.

24/8/1990, The Irish hostage Brian Keenan was released from Beirut.

9/7/1990. Israeli jets struck at Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

23/4/1990, Robert Polhill, aged 55, kept hostage in Beirut for 39 months, was released. Libya’s Colonel Gaddaffi had called for all Western hostages to be released. Radical groups such as Abu Nidal held more captives.

22/11/1989, A bomb exploded in West Beirut near the motorcade of the Lebanese President, Rene Moawad, killing him and 23 others.

23/10/1989, 62 members of the Lebanese Parliament agreed to an equal power distribution between Christians and Muslims.

24/9/1989. The Arab League negotiated a ceasefire in Lebanon.

20/1/1987. Terry Waite, envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was taken hostage in Lebanon. He was not released until 18/11/1991. His captors knew he was linked to the Irangate scandal and believed he was a CIA spy. In fact he had been sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to negotiate the release of other hostages in Lebanon.

19/5/1985, Shi’ite Muslim militia attempted to drive out the Palestinians from the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra, Shatila and Bourj-el-Barajneh, near Beirut.

16/3/1985, American journalist Terry Anderson was kidnapped in Lebanon, see 4/12/1991.

14/3/1985, As the situation in Lebanon deteriorated, the USA evacuated its officials from the country.

4/9/1984. A large car bomb killed 23 at the US Embassy in Beirut.

6/2/1984, President Gemayel of Lebanon ordered a 24-hour curfew, as Shi’ite Muslim and Drize militias overran West Beirut.

20/12/1983, The PLO were forced out of Lebanon. The Syrian Army forced Yasser Arafat and 4,000 supporters to leave Tripoli, under arrangement of safe passage out by the UN.

4/9/1983, In Lebanon, civil war broke out in the Chouf Mountains following Israel’s withdrawal.

20/7/1983, The Israeli Cabinet agreed on a partial withdrawal of troops from Lebanon, to south of the Chouf Mountains.

15/2/1983, The Christian Phalangist militia withdrew from Beirut, allowing the Lebanese Government control over the city.

18/4/1983, The US Embassy in Beirut was hit by a car bomb, killing 63 people.

18/9/1982, Christian Phalangist militiamen entered West Beirut refugee camps and massacred 800 Palestinians.

5/8/1983, A bomb killed 15 at a Lebanese mosque.

9/6/1982, Israeli forces in Lebanon were just 3 kilometres south of Beirut Airport and had reached the Beirut to Damascus Highway, where they were fighting against Syrian forces.

15/12/1981, A car bomb destroyed the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut, killing 61 people. This was the first modern suicide bombing. Syria was blamed.

13/8/1978, A large bomb in Beirut killed 150 Palestinians.

13/6/1978, Israel withdrew from the 6 mile deep zone of southern Lebanon it had occupied since 14/3/1978. However rather than handing control of the territory to UN forces it handed over to Christian forces.

14/3/1978, Israeli forces, under Operation Litani, invaded Lebanon. This was in retaliation for the bus hijacking on 11/3/1978. Israeli forces occupied a 6 mile deep strip of territory into Lebanon.

20/6/1976, Unrest in Lebanon following the murder of the US ambassador forced the evacuation of hundreds of Western tourists to Syria by the US military.

17/6/1976, The US Ambassador to Lebanon, Francis Meloy, was assassinated in Beirut. Washington advised all US citizens to leave Lebanon.

22/1/1976, Ceasefire agreement in Lebanon.

15/9/1975. Civil war broke out in Beirut between Christians and Muslims.

13/4/1975. Fighting broke out in Beirut between Christians and Moslems. The fighting was sparked by a Phalangist attack on a Palestinian bus in Ain El Remmeneh, and led to 13 years of civil war in Lebanon.

10/4/1973, Israeli special forces completed an operation in Lebanon to attack terrorist targets there.

27/2/1972, Israel attacked south Lebanon in reprisal for Palestinian raids.

3/5/1964, In the Lebanese general election, Independent candidates won the majority of seats, on a voter turnout of 53.0%.

15/7/1958, US troops landed near Beirut to protect US lives and property during rioting.

10/3/1946. Britain and France began to withdraw from Lebanon.

11/11/1943. French troops arrested the Lebanese government after it declared itself independent.

1/9/1920. France proclaimed the creation of the state of Lebanon, with Beirut as its capital.

31/8/1920, Under the decree of General Giraud, France enlarged the Sanjak of Lebanon (Mount Lebanon) at Syria’s expense, adding Tripoli, Sidon, Tyre and the Bekaa plain. Greater Lebanon now had a small Christian majority, but the Muslim population had a higher birth rate.


Appendix 4 – Saudi Arabia

26/9/2017, Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving. From 24/6/2018 women would be allowed to drive there.

5/6/2017, Two weeks after US President Trump visited the Middle East and expressed backing for Saudi Arabia, the Saudis and their allies in the region cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed the border. They alleged that Qatar was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran.

2/1/2016, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr-al-Nimr, along with 46 others accused of promoting violent dissent. There were violent protests by Shia Muslims across the Middle East.

24/9/2015, 717 pilgrims died and 863 were injured in a stampede at Mina during the Haj, Mecca.

11/9/2015, A crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, Mecca, killing 109 worshippers.

10/3/2011, Saudi police opened fire on protestors.

12/1/2006, 364 pilgrims were killed at the Haj, Mecca, during the ‘stoning of the Devil’ ritual.

1/2/2004, 251 pilgrims were killed at the Haj, Mecca, during a stampede at Mina, in the ‘stoning of the Devil’ ritual.

9/11/2003, In Riyadh a suicide bomber blew up his lorry outside a housing compound, killing 17 people, mostly Saudi expatriate workers.

12/5/2003, Synchronised suicide bombings against four western compounds killed 35 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

15/4/1997, A fire in a tent camp at the Haj in Mecca killed 340 and injured over 1,500.

25/6/1996. Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda group bombed the Khobar Towers HQ of the US Air Force in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 Americans died.

13/11/1995, Seven died as a bomb exploded at a US military base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28/1/1991. Iraqi troops invaded the Saudi border town of Khafji, abandoned by its residents as Operation Desert Storm began on 16/1/1991. Allied forces recaptured it on 31/1/1991.

6/11/1990, 14 women staged a protest drive in Saudi Arabia, where women at that time were not allowed to drive cars. They drove a short way out of a supermarket before being stopped and arrested.

2/7/1990. 1,426 Muslims were killed in a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel in Mecca. In 43 Centigrade heat, air conditioning failed in a tunnel containing 5,000 pilgrims. Panic and a stampede broke out, and 1,400 were crushed to death.

31/7/1987, 400 Iranian pilgrims died in clashes with Saudi security forces in Mecca.

28/10/1986, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia dismissed Sheikh Yamani from his post at the Oil Ministry. King Fahd was dissatisfied with the low price Yamani had set for Saudi oil.

13/6/1982. King Khalid of Saudi Arabia died.  His brother, Fahd, became King.

23/4/1980, Saudi Arabia expelled the British Ambassador in protest at a British television programme about the execution of a Saudi princess and her lover for adultery.

9/1/1980,  Saudi Arabia beheaded 63 Shi’ite Muslim fanatics for their role in the siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca from 23 November 1979. 500 armed extremists had held thousands of Muslim pilgrims hostage, and Saudi Arabia feared Iranian attempts to overthrow its government. Iran protested at the executions, and the US was concerned about complications to the Iranian US hostages crisis.

24/11/1979, Saudi troops stormed the Great Mosque in Mecca to evict Iranian religious fanatics.

23/11/1979. Militant Sunni Muslims occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca, holding out there until 4/12/1979. After false radio reports on 21/11/1979 that US forces had taken the Grand Mosque, the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was attacked by a mob and set on fire, killing four people.

1975, A ‘neutral zone’ between Saudi Arabia and Iraq was divided between the two countires.

25/3/1975. In Saudi Arabia, King Faisal was assassinated by his 31-year-old mentally deranged nephew, and Crown Prince Khalid Ibn Abdul Aziz acceded to the throne. The US had regarded Faisal as a moderating influence in the unstable Middle East.

1966, A ‘neutral zone’ between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was divided between the two countries.

2/11/1964. King Faisal became King of Saudi Arabia, succeeding his brother.

21/12/1960. King Saud took over the Saudi Arabian government.

14/7/1958. King Faisal of Iraq was assassinated in a military coup led by General Kasseem, and a Republic was declared.

9/11/1953, King Ibn Saud (1880-1953)  of Saudi Arabia died aged 73; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named after him. He was succeeded by his son, Saud Ibn Abdel Aziz.

1938, The first oil was found in Saudi Arabia, in commercial quaitities, a mile underground at Dhahran.

31/12/1935, King Salman of Saudi Arabia was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

20/5/1934, A brief war between Saudi Arabia under Prince Faisal and Yemen under Imam Yahya over possession of Asir province ended with victory to Saudi Arabia. The moderate terms of the peace treaty imposed by Faisal ensured friendly relations between him and Yahya for life.

6/5/1934. Saudi Arabian forces captured the Yemeni city of Hodeida. On 13/5/1934 Saudi Arabia signed a truce with Yemen in Jeddah.

20/9/1932, The Sultanate of Nejd, the Kingdom of Hejaz, and their conquered dependencies were united as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

4/6/1931, Ibn Hussein, King of the Hejaz, died.

20/5/1927. Britain recognised the independence of Saudi Arabia, under the Treaty of Jeddah.

8/1/1926. The new King, Ibn Saud, 43, renamed Hejaz as Saudi Arabia.

17/12/1925, The siege of Jeddah ended in victory for Ibn Saud.

5/12/1925, Medina capitulated to Ibn Saud.

20/10/1924, Ibn Saud seized control of Mecca, defeating the Hashemites.

3/10/1924, In Arabia, King Hussein abdicated as King of Hejaz in favour of his son, Ali.

1922, Exploration for oil began in Saudi Arabia.

1/1/1917, Britain, France and Italy recognised the Kingdom of Hejaz in Arabia.

9/6/1916. Sherif Hussein of Mecca led a revolt against the Ottoman Turks. The Arabs were angered by the Young Turks nationalist and secular policies.

29/11/1916, The Sheriff of Mecca, Hussein, was proclaimed King of the Arabs.

21/6/1916. Hussein, the Grand Sheikh of Mecca, declared war on Ottoman Turkey with the aim of achieving Arabia’s independence from Britain.

1912, Abd-el-Wahab founded the frst of many co-operastove farming communities, known as Ikhwaan (Brethren). Providing the Bedouin with a more settled existence, these communities also assured a supply of soldiers for the defence of the Saudi Kingdom.

20/1/1902, The beginnings of Saudi Arabia. The Bedouin warrior, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, 20-year old Emir of the Wahhabi, seized Riyadh, capital of the Nejd. He became a focus for the Arab nationalist movement.

1806, The Wahabis took Mecca.

1760, The Wahabi branch of Islam was founded by Muslim scholar, Abd-el-Wahab (1703-92).  He wanted to restore a pure, original, version of Islam, His teachings gained credence across much of the Arabian Peninsula.

639, A few thousand Muslims entered Alexandria, and Egypt soon adopted the new religion.

8/6/632. Mohammed died, aged about 62.  He was buried in Mecca.  See 16/7/622.

16/7/622. The traditional starting day of the Islamic era, when Mohammad fled persecution in Mecca for the city of Medina, then known as Yattrib. This flight is called the Hejirah. In Arabia around 610, Mohammed had called for an end to the demons and idols of the Arab religion and to convert to monotheistic worship of Allah. Born around 570, Mohammed was of the Quraysh tribe, a Bedouin tribe in the Arabian peninsula. This tribe occupied Mecca, a wealthy caravan trading centre, and Mohammed was married to a wealthy widow. Arabs also came to Mecca to worship at the Kaaba, a black meteoric stone of which the Qurayshi are guardians. Mohammed denounced the idol worship associated with the Kaaba, and made enemies of some wealthy merchants, especially with his calls to help the poor. Mohammed died on 8/6/632. He saw himself as an instrument of God. His new religion was called Islam, meaning submission; its adherents were Moslems, or those who submit. In 630 the citizens of Mecca accepted his new religion; in return Mohammed agreed that the Kaaba should remain as a place of pilgrimage for Moslems.

595, Mohammed, a 25-year-old camel driver, married his wealthy 40-year-old employer, the widow Khadija.

570, Mohammed was born.


Appendix 5 – Syria

Click here for maps of Syrian Civil War territorial control 2016-18.

11/1/2019, The USA began to pull its forces out of Syria. Russia, ally of Syrian President Assad, welcomed the news, as Assad appeared to have won the Syrian Civil War. There were concerns that the US move could allow ISIS to regroup, or expose the Kurds to attacks from Turkey.

7/4/2018, A poison gas attack (chlorine or sarin) on Syrian civilians in the rebel-held area of Douma was reported. Russia, who was backing Syrian President Assad, along with Iran, alleged that the attack was a fabrication. The US and Israel replied with airstrikes on Syrian air force facilities.

7/9/2017, Four Israeli jets fired missiles at a Syrian facility believed to be a site of chemicals weapons production, killing two Syrians.

6/4/2017, US President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat Airbase, Syria, in response to the gas attack of 2/4/2017. 4 were killed. Russia, an ally of Assad, was angry and said the incident had nearly started a war between Russia and the US. Trump said he might fire more missiles into Syria.

4/4/2017, 58 were killed by poison gas in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. Government forces under Assad were blamed.

28/2/2017, Syria’s close ally Russia, also China, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution authorising sanctions against the Syrian government for use of chemical weapons.

13/12/2016, Aleppo was completely taken by Syrian Government forces, after rebel fighters were defeated, with Russian assistance. However the Syrian civil war, which had begun in 2011, continued, and fighting was still reported in the Aleppo area.

24/8/2016, The United Nations determined that the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents, in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. A later report held the government responsible for a third attack. The attacks occurred in 2014 and 2015. The panel also found that ISIS had used mustard gas.

31/5/2016, 25 people died in airstrikes in Idlib, Syria.

24/11/2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter that was taking part in Russia’s pro-Assad campaign in Syria, against both ISIS and non-ISIS rebels. Turkey said the aircraft had transgressed into Turkish airspace, and was warned several times. Russia denied the warnings, and it appeared the jet had at most been in Turkish airspace for 2 or 3 seconds as it (might have) crossed a finger of Turkish territory jutting into Syria.

12/11/2015, Jihadi John’ was killed by a US drone strike in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah, northern Syria.

30/9/2015, Russia began airstrikes in Syria, against anti-Assad rebels.

7/8/2015, The U.N. Security Council authorised investigators to probe reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, as reports circulated of repeated chlorine gas attacks by government forces against civilians in opposition-held areas. Chlorine gas, though not as toxic as nerve agents, can be classified as a chemical weapon depending on its use.

1/4/2015, ISIS forces took Palmyra.

29/10/2014, 150 Kurdish fighters set off from Erbil (Kurdish Iraq) to travel through  Turkish territory to reinforce Kurdish fighters across the Turkish-Syria border battling ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani. ISIS began to lose ground there, as Syrian Kurds were reinforced by US arms drops and US air strikes against ISIS. The fight for Kobani assumed increased importance as the global TV media focussed on the battle from just across the border in Turkey. The issue of Turkey allowing Kurdish reinforcements across its territory was sensitive because Turkey has its own Kurdish minority region in the south-east.

22/9/2014, A US-led coalition began air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

23/6/2014, The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said it had removed the last of the Syrian government's chemical weapons. Syrian opposition officials maintained that the government's stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.

14/1/2014, ISIS forces took Raqqa, Syria.

3/1/2014, Anti-Assad groups in northern Syria united against ISIS.

14/10/2013, Syria became a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling or using chemical weapons.

27/9/2013, The UN Security Council ordered Syria to account for and destroy its stocks of chemical weapons, following a surprise agreement between the USA and Russia, so averting US airstrikes. Use of force was threatened by the UN if Syria did not comply.

31/8/2013, US President Obama desired to carry out punitive airstrikes against the Syrian government, but Congress did not support the idea.

21/8/2013, Hundreds of people suffocated in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital, with many suffering from convulsions, pinpoint pupils, and foaming at the mouth. U.N. investigators visited the sites and determined that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept. The U.S. and others blamed the Syrian government, the only party to the conflict known to have sarin gas.

5/6/2013, In the Syrian civil war, the town of Qusayr was recaptured by pro-Assad forces.

7/4/2013, The Syrian government launched an air raid on rebels in Aleppo, killing 15 people.

19/3/2013, 26 Syrians, including a dozen Government soldiers, were killed in a gas attack on the town of Khan-al-Assal, northern Syria. A UN investigation found that sarin nerve gas had been used, but could not identify the source.

20/8/2012, US President Obama strongly cautioned the Syrian Government against any use of chemical weapons.

19/7/2012, Groups opposed to the regime of Syria’s leader, Bashar al Assad, attacked the city of Aleppo. Aleppo became divided into a pro-regime west and a pro-rebel east.

18/8/2011, US President Obama called on Syrian President Assad to resign, and froze Syrian assets in the US.

31/7/2011, In Syria, an army raid on the town of Hama killed over 120. So far the Syrian civil war had claimed 3,000 lives.

12/6/2011, Thousands of Syrians fled into Turkey to escape the civil war.

1/4/2011, Large protests by Syrian civilians against their Government after Friday prayers.

18/3/2011, Further protests in Deraa over the detention by security forces of a group of boys accused of painting anti-govermnment graffiti on the walls of their school. Earlier, on 15/3/2011, protests against the boys’ detention had taken place in Damascus. On 18/3/2011 Syrian government forces opened fire in Deraa, killing four people. These are regarded as the first deaths in the Syrian civil war.

6/3/2011, Unrest in Deraa, Syria.

10/6/2000, Hafez al Assad, President of Syria, died.

27/12/1989, Egypt and Syria resumed full diplomatic relations.

16/3/1980, Martial Law was proclaimed in Aleppo as political violence swept Syria.

23/2/1966, A military junta seized power in Syria.

29/9/1961, Syria seceded from the United Arab Republic after anti-Egyptian uprisings. 

25/12/1959, The USSR agreed to supply financial and technical aid to Syria.

6/1936. Syria and France negotiated a Treaty of Independence, to take effect in 1939; Hashim al-Atassi was elected to be the first President of the newly independent country. However the French legislature never ratified the Treaty, and in 1940 France fell to the Nazis and the Vichy French Government took over. At this point British and Free French forces took over Syria, consolidating theor control over the country in July 1941. After World War Two, Syrian Nationalists forced the French to leave the country and a Republican Government took over the running of Syria.

1925, Druze revolt in Damascus. French High Commissioner General Sarrail ordered the bombardment of this area of the city.

11/3/1920, The National Congress in Syria proclaimed Feisal, 3rd son of King Hussein of the Hejaz, King of an independent Syria.

For events in the Syria region during Roman and Byzantine times see Roman Empire

For events in the Syria region  in pre-Roman times see Jewish


Appendix 6 – Yemen

31/12/2017, Cholera cases in Yemen, since April 2017, now stood at 994,751, with 2,226 cholera deaths, out of a total population of 28 million. Worst hit was the Yemeni port city of Al Hodeida, with nearly 150,000 cholera cases in a population of 400,000.

12/2017, Houthi rebels turned against Saleh.

11/2017, Saudi forces tightened their blockade after a rocket from Yemen fell near Riyadh.

1/2017, The UN estimated the death toll in Yemen as 10,000.

2015, Houthi forces, backed by Iran and against Saudi Arabia, captured the Yemeni port of Al Hodeida.

3/2015, Saudi-led coalition forces bombed Houthi forces, in support of Hadi’s government.

26/1/2015, Saudi Arabia led air strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Houthi forces seized the Presidential Palace and Hadi fled to Aden, Yemen’s second city.

9/2014, Houthi rebels took control of most of Sana’a and allied with pro-Saleh forces.

8/2014, Fuel process rose sharply, provoking protests against Hadi.

27/2/2012, Protests in Yemen connected with the Arab Spring forced the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

3/6/2011, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh fled the country.

3/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Yemen. Adb Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Saleh’s former deputy, took over control.

1/2011, Protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been in power since 1978.

3/1/2010, The UK and USA closed their embassies in Yemen due to threats of civilian unrest and Al Quaeda activity.

12/10/2000, Suicide bombers rammed a dinghy full of explosives into the side of the US warship USS Cole in Aden, killing 17 sailors.

7/7/1994, Troops from North Yemen occupied Aden.

3/2/1992, The discovery of the lost city of Ubar, dated around 2000 BC, in the Arabian desert on the Omar-Yemen border, was announced.

22/5/1990, The leaders of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen agreed to merge their two countries.

24/6/1978, The President of North Yemen was killed by a bomb as he received the credentials of a new ambassador from South Yemen.

28/11/1972, North and South Yemen agreed to unify.

27/9/1972, Border fighting between North and South Yemen.

21/3/1963. Aden joined the South Arabian Federation.

9/1962, Brigadier Adbullah-al-Sallal seized power from the autocratic Imam of North Yemen. In subsequent fighting, Egypt backed him against Saudi forces who supported the Imam.

2/5/1958, State of Emergency declared in Aden.

9/3/1958, Yemen merged with the United Arab Republic to form the United Arab States.

1/11/1955. Yemen signed a five year treaty of friendship with the USSR, in Cairo.

2/12/1947, Anti-Jewish riots broke out in the British colony of Aden (90% Muslim, 5% Jewish, 5% other). 82 Jews, 38 Arabs and 3 others were killed.

1/4/1937, Aden, administered by the British Government in India since 16/1/1839, became a Crown Colony.  Aden was useful to Britain as a coaling station on the way to India, and there was an oil refinery there.


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