Countdown to the Destruction in Syria? Timeline of US and Allied Interventions in Syria (1916-2016)

In-depth Report:

“I want to go on record as saying that this is the stupidest, most irresponsible action a diplomatic mission like ours could get itself involved in, and that we’ve started a series of these things that will never end.” Dean Hinton, US State Department official pertaining  to planned CIA coup against Syria in 1949 (1)

The following is a timeline of US and allied interventions over the past 100 years. (1916-2016)

Sykes-Picot (1916)

1916– Sykes-Picot Agreement, Syria ‘given’ to France, Iraq to Britain. (2)

1920– French defeat an independence movement in Syria. (3)

1925– France defeats a second independence movement in Syria, shells Damascus (3)

1936– France grants Syria independence, but French parliament refuses to ratify (3)

1941– Syria declares independence (3)

1944- Jewish irregular armed units operating independently of Jewish Agency control (but at times with its tacit approval) launch a campaign of terror against British personnel and Arab civilians in Palestine. (4)

1945– France tries to stop independence movement, shells Damascus, kills 400 (3)

1946– Independence from France, Syrian President is Shukri al-Quwatli (5)

1947The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon—UN testimony by Rabbi Fischmann, member of the Jewish Agency for Palestine (6)

1948– Israel created out of Palestine, Arab-Israeli War

1948- Syria participates in Arab wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 & 1973, earning U.S. enmity. (7)

1949– CIA-sponsored coup under Truman over oil pipeline through Syria, see Deane Hinton quote (1)

1949– Two more coups, CIA man overthrown in the second, another returned in third

1954– Fourth coup, CIA-supported Adib Shiskali overthrown (5)

1955– Shukri al-Quwatli re-instated (see above, 1946). (5)

1956– CIA under Eisenhower tries to overthrow al-Quwatli with ‘Operation Straggle’ (8)

1957– Eisenhower implements ‘Operation Wappen,’ another coup attempt (5)

1957- Turkey masses 50,000 troops on Syrian border after the latter was claimed to be a ‘Soviet Satellite’ with ‘not more than 123 Russian MIGs’ (fighter planes). Reporter Kennett Love later said that “there were indeed ‘not more than 123 Migs’. There were none.” (8)

1960s– Frequent coups, military revolts, civil disorders and bloody riots

1970– Minister of Defense Hafez al-Assad (image left) seizes power in a bloodless coup

1979– Syria earns increased animosity of the U.S. government by supporting the Iranian revolution. (9)

1980– National Security Council urges President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to identify “possible alternative regimes to Syria’s Hafez al-Assad government. (10)

1982Israel must become an imperial regional power, and must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states.” from ‘A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s’ (11)

1996– American Report: “Israel can shape its strategic environment by weakening Syria .”A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The document proposed regime change in Iraq primarily as a “means” of “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria . As Pat Buchanan put it: “In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel ’s enemy remains Syria , but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad .” (12)

2003Israel launches a missile attack on Syria , the first strike into Syrian territory in 30 years. President Bush immediately condoned the attack

2004-. Labeling Syria “an extraordinary threat, US Congress passed sanctions against the country. (13)

2006– Cable from William Roebuck, chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus published later by Wikileaks. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government. (14)

2007– We need to do everything possible to destabilize the Syrian regime. Cheney’s Middle East adviser David Wurmser. (15)

2009– US blocks Syrian efforts to join the World Trade Organization, which along with sanctions negatively impacts the Syrian economy.(16)

*     *     *

2011- March. Onslaught of terror attacks in the border city of Daraa, supported by US-NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel 

2012– From Defense Intelligence Agency document: “The West, Gulf Countries and Turkey support the Syrian opposition…There is a possibility of establishing a Salfist Principality in Eastern Syria .”

2012– CIA known to be funneling weapons to Syrian opposition (17)

2016– 320,000 Syrians killed since open warfare began in 2011, with 12 million refugees (out of a total population of 22 million), and the human and ecological infrastructure of the country largely destroyed.


Dana Visalli is n biologist living in Washington State ; he has visited Iraq and Afghanistan often and is on his way to Syria. He has essays on Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam at











10. NSC (1980) ‘ Syria July 16, 1980’, National Security Council, 4203XX, Memorandum for Zbigniew Brzezinski, declassified document.




14. US Embassy Damascus (2006) ‘Influencing the SARG in the end of 2006’, Cable to US State Department, Wikileaks, 13 December, online:


16. Sadat, Mi H and Daniel B Jones (2009) ‘U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Syria: balancing ideology and national interests’, Middle East Policy Council, Summer, Volume XVI, Number 2, online:



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