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Key Dates in Assad’s Career

June 13, 2000
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Following are key dates in the career of Syrian President Hafez Assad:

June 1967 — A former army general, Assad serves as defense minister during the Six-Day War, during which Israel captures the Golan Heights from Syria.

Nov. 13, 1970 — Assad seizes power in a bloodless coup.

March 12, 1971 — Parliament elects Assad president.

October 1973 — Syria and Egypt jointly launch a surprise attack on Israel to recapture territory lost in 1967. Syria almost regains the Golan, but Israel ultimately pushes Assad’s forces back.

May 1974 — Israel and Syria agree to disengage forces in the Golan; a U.N. observer force is created to monitor the U.S.-brokered agreement.

Jan. 16, 1976 — Reacting to civil war in Lebanon, Assad sends forces there.

February 1979 — After Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Assad allies himself with the fundamentalist leaders of Iran in aiding international terrorists against Israel.

March 27, 1979 — Assad condemns Egypt one day after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signs a peace deal with Israel.

Dec. 14, 1981 — Israel annexes the Golan Heights.

February 1982 — Assad sends forces into the Syrian city of Hama to crush an uprising. An estimated 10,000 people are killed.

June 1982 — Israel invades Lebanon; Syrian troops pull back to northern and eastern Lebanon.

June 1983 — Assad expels PLO leader Yasser Arafat from Syria. Assad also sponsors a mutiny by PLO radicals that drives Arafat out of Lebanon.

Aug. 2, 1990 — After Iraq invades Kuwait, Assad joins U.S. coalition against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

November 1991 — Syria attends U.S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel, attends Madrid Conference in November 1991.

April 1992 — Assad tells leaders of Syrian Jewry that he has decided to lift the decades-old restrictions that barred Jews from leaving the country.

October 1994 — Details emerge about a secret operation in which approximately 4,000 Syrian Jews left the country, some 1,500 of whom settled in Israel.

March 1996 — Sporadic Israeli-Syrian negotiations are halted when Assad fails to condemn a series of terror attacks against Israel.

December 1999 — Assad agrees to resume peace talks with Israel.

January 2000 — Israeli-Syrian talks are postponed indefinitely after Assad demands a written Israeli commitment to withdrawal from the Golan.

March 26, 2000 — During a summit in Geneva, President Clinton and Syrian President Hafez Assad fail to find a basis for resuming Israeli-Syrian talks.

June 10, 2000 — Assad dies at the age of 69, leaving his son Bashar as his designated heir.

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