Timeline of the Syrian Conflict

See the key moments in the conflict and ShelterBox's response

On 15 March 2011, the popular uprising of the Arab Spring reached Syria.

Peaceful protests soon escalated into brutal conflict as government and opposition forces clashed. 10 years later, the conflict has shifted into a seemingly unsolvable regional crisis, leaving a country scarred by terror and instability.

Learn how the war in Syria began, who is involved and how families have been affected through this interactive timeline.

2011

Key moments –

  • Reaction to peaceful pro-democracy protests, inspired by the ‘Arab spring’, leads to violence that develops into civil war.
2012

Key moments –

  • Syrian government forces attack Homs and other cities
  • Opposition group the Free Syrian Army seizes Aleppo

ShelterBox response –

  • 100 Syrian refugee families helped in Jordan  
  • Displaced people supported in northern Syria  
  • A response starts to support Syrian refugees in Iraq
2013

Key moments –

  • Syrian government uses chemical weapons against rebel positions in Ghouta
  • UN begins process of destroying chemical weapons stocks, with permission of the Syrian government

ShelterBox response –

  • Partnership with Hand in Hand for Syria formed, helping people in northern Syria.
  • More than 2,000 families helped in Lebanon. ShelterBox is one of the only aid organisations to successfully negotiate importing tents into the country at this time.
2014

Key moments –

  • So-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) declares a ‘caliphate of territory from Aleppo to Diyala, Iraq 
  • UN-brokered peace talks collapse
  • Airstrikes by US and 5 Arab states against IS around Aleppo and Raqqa

ShelterBox response –

  • Refugees in Iraq supported
  • Families in northern Syria are some of the first to use new shelter kits from ShelterBox
  • ShelterBox begins supporting Iraqi IDPs displaced by IS
2015

Key moments –

  • Russia commences airstrikes in Syria, in support of the Syrian government
  • Kurdish forces push IS out of Turkish border area
  • IS seizes the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria, monuments destroyed
  • Islamist rebel alliance takes control of Idlib Province
  • Syrian government regains control of Homs

ShelterBox response –

  • Aid starts to be sourced from neighbouring Turkey, offering a wider range of materials with shorter delivery times, reaching people more quickly
  • New ReliefAid partnership increases reach in northern Syria
  • 100 large tents provided in Lesvos, Greece, to shelter people fleeing across the water from Syria via Turkey
  • 10,000 families helped across the region since 2012
2016

Key moments –

  • Syrian government retake Aleppo, supported by Iran and Russia
  • Turkey crosses border into Syria in support of Turkish- aligned Syrian opposition

ShelterBox response –

  • More than 11,000 families supported in Syria in one year, including those fleeing government-led offensive on Aleppo
  • Further help for displaced people in Iraq 
2017

Key moments –

  • Turkey, Russia and Iran broker a deal to establish ‘de-escalation zones’
  • IS driven out of Raqqa

ShelterBox response –

  • 14,000 families supported within Syria this year, many of them fleeing the violence in Raqqa, aided by a new partnership with Bahar Organization
2018

Key moments –

  • Syrian government launches operation against rebel-held enclave of East Ghouta
  • Syrian government accused of using chemical weapons again. US, France and UK launch missile attack in response

ShelterBox response –

  • 45,000 families now helped across the region – 30,000 in Syria alone 
2019

Key moments –

  • IS ‘caliphate’ defeated in the Baghouz offensive
  • Syrian government airstrikes escalate in Idlib province, displacing 1 million people
  • Operation Peace Spring, a Turkish offensive in northeast Syria, prompts a large-scale evacuation of displacement camps near the frontline

ShelterBox response –

  • 50,000 families supported across the region
  • Having prepared for a major Idlib offensive for some time, ShelterBox responds extensively in the region from June onwards
  • ShelterBox mobilises aid in anticipation of this conflict-related displacement, and responds to relocated families within 2 days
2020

Key moments –

  • 22 March 2020, coronavirus is confirmed in Syria

ShelterBox response –

  • Responses to the major displacements in Idlib from December 2019 continue
  • Soap, handbasins and face masks added to aid packages to help limit the spread of coronavirus. Contact with camps minimised and aid items quarantined to prevent transmission from Turkey
2021

Key moments –

  • Widespread flooding in northwest Syria destroys 10,500 tents and damages 15,000 more
  • 15 March 2021: 10 years since the reaction to peaceful Arab Spring protests escalated into widespread conflict in Syria

ShelterBox response –

  • ShelterBox has now supported or assisted more than 80,000 families (400,000 people) affected by the Syrian and wider conflict since 2012

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The Conflict in Syria

We are providing shelter for families who have been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict in Syria.

The Syrian Conflict Explained

Learn how the war in Syria began, who is involved and how families have been affected.

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