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  1. Syria Main Page
  2. Regional Conflicts Continue Through the End of the Century
  3. Syria is Repeatedly Accused of Supporting Terrorist Groups
  4. Syria and Israel Begin Negotiating, but Terrorism and Conflict Continue
  5. Government Forces Crack Down on Protesters
  6. Diplomatic Effort to End Violence Stymied by Security Council Vetoes
  7. Syria Sinks into Civil War
  8. Opposition Forms New Governing Body
  9. Several Countries Accuse Assad of Using Chemical Weapons
  10. Gains by Government and Splintering of Opposition Signal Staying Power of Assad
  11. Assad Accused of Launching a Chemical Attack
  12. Splintering of Opposition, Rise of ISIS Cause Concern
  13. UN-Led Negotiations Begin in Geneva; Rebels Suffer Setbacks
  14. Assad Re-elected in a Disputed Election
  15. Obama Authorizes Strikes on ISIS
  16. Peace Talks Delayed Again as Civil War Rages On; Another Attempt at Peace
Syria and Israel Begin Negotiating, but Terrorism and Conflict Continue

For the first time in eight years, Syria and Israel returned to the bargaining table in May 2008. Syria wants to regain control over the Golan Heights, which was taken by Israel in 1967, and Israel hopes an agreement will distance Iran from Syria and diminish some sway Iran holds over the Middle East. Syria also reached out to the West, meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy in July.

Assad met with Lebanese president Michael Suleiman in October 2008, and the two agreed that Lebanon and Syria would establish full diplomatic relations—for the first time since both countries gained independence from France in 1943.

In October, American Special Operations Forces launched an air attack into Syria, killing a leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia near the Iraqi border. U.S. officials say the militant, Abu Ghadiya, smuggled weapons, money, and fighters into Iraq from Syria. The Syrian government accused the Americans of committing a war crime, saying that eight civilians, including a woman and three children, had been killed in the attack.

Relations between the U.S. and Syria thawed in December 2010 when President Barack Obama appointed diplomat Robert Ford as the ambassador to Syria. It was a recess appointment as Ford's confirmation was held up in the Senate. The U.S. hasn't had an ambassador to Syria since the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Ford was quickly confronted with

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