Following UN Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states Israel declares independence. The resolution is rejected by the Arab states and Syria takes part in a collective attack on Israel


Following the defeat of the Arab armies Israel and Syria sign an armistice agreement under which an area adjacent to the Golan Heights is demilitarised.

June 1967 The Six-Day War

After Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and masses troops on its border, Israel launches a pre-emptive strike against Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Israeli forces seize the Golan Heights from Syria and destroy much of Syria’s air force

November 1967

Following the Israeli victory, UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from land it gained in the Six-Day War, including the Golan Heights, in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbours


Syria and Egypt go to war with Israel but Syria fails to retake the Golan Heights

May 1974

Syria and Israel sign a disengagement agreement in which Israel partially withdraws from the Golan Heights, creating a demilitarised “buffer zone” patrolled by UN peacekeeping forces between the two countries


Syrian president Hafez al-Assad expresses a willingness to make peace with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab land

December 1981

The Israeli Knesset votes to annex the Golan Heights

September 1982

At the Fez Summit Conference in Morocco Arab countries, including Syria, promote the possibility of a political settlement with Israel. This policy marks a departure from the previous Syrian position of outright refusal to negotiate with Israel

February 1986

In a public speech to the People’s Council of Syria, President Hafez Assad declares that he will put the Golan Heights “in the middle of Syria and not on its borders”


Direct talks begin between Israel and Syria after the Madrid peace conference


Syria claims that then Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin agreed to a total pullback from the Golan Heights. However, the Israelis say this was only a theoretical acceptance that depended on the full normalisation of relations

March 2000

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syria’s president Hafez al-Assad fail to reach a peace agreement at a summit in Geneva under US mediation. Syria insisted on a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, while Israel wanted to use an earlier border between the two states as a reference point. The difference is small in terms of territory, but the 1967 line would give Syria direct access to the Sea of Galilee.

December 2003

US Congress passes The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act calling on Syria to cease support for terrorism, end its presence in Lebanon and negotiate a peace agreement with Israel

June 2007

Israel expresses desire for a peace agreement with Syria. The offer is reported to include a withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for Syria severing links to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas

Sep 2007

Syria says its air defences open fire on Israeli warplanes after they violated its airspace in the north of the country

Dec 2007

A US official tells the New York Times that Israel suspects North Korea of supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials

Feb 2008

Lebanese Hezbollah leader Imad Moughniyah is killed in a bomb attack in Syrian capital Damascus

Apr 2008

CIA briefs Congress on evidence that Syria had been close to building a nuclear reactor before Israel bombed the facility

May 2008

Israel says it has opened talks with Syria, with Turkey acting as mediator.

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