A street vendor sells balloons as he rides a motorbike past a billboard of Lebanon's assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri ahead of Valentine's Day in Sidon, southern Lebanon February 12, 2016. Image Credit: REUTERS


February 14: Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is killed, along with 22 others, by a huge truck bomb in Beirut, triggering international pressure on neighboring Syria to end a 29-year military presence in Lebanon.

April 26: Last Syrian soldiers leave Lebanon.

June 16: An international investigation into Hariri’s killing begins.

June 19: Lebanese parliamentary elections end in victory for anti-Syrian alliance led by Hariri’s son Sa’ad Hariri.

October 20: In a report to the UN Security Council, the preliminary findings of the international investigation implicate high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials in the Hariri killing. Syria denies any role.


February 6: Christian leader Michel Aoun, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, strikes a political alliance with the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

November 11: After the collapse of talks on giving Hezbollah and its allies more say in government, five pro-Syrian ministers loyal to Hezbollah and the Amal movement resign, stripping cabinet of all Shiite representation.

November 21: Industry Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel, a member of the anti-Syrian coalition, is killed by gunmen.


June-September: Two anti-Syrian parliamentarians are killed by car bombs in Beirut.

November 23: Pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud’s term ends.

December 5: Army chief General Michel Sulaiman emerges as a consensus candidate for president, but his election is held up.

December 12: A car bomb east of Beirut kills Brigadier General Francois Al Haj, the army’s head of operations.


May 6: Siniora’s cabinet accuses Hezbollah of operating a private telecommunications network and installing spy cameras at Beirut airport. The cabinet removes the airport security chief.

May 7: In response, Hezbollah and its allies paralyse Beirut with roadblocks. Two days later Hezbollah takes control of mainly Muslim half of Beirut.

May 21: After mediation, rival leaders sign a deal in Qatar to end 18 months of political conflict. It paves the way for parliament to elect Sulaiman as president and for the formation of a new cabinet. Sulaiman is sworn in as president on May 25

July 11: Leaders agree on a unity government that gives effective veto power to Hezbollah and its allies.

August 13: On his first visit to Syria as president, Sulaiman agrees with President Bashar Al Assad that their countries will establish diplomatic ties for the first time since independence.


March 1: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established to try suspects in Hariri’s killing, begins operations in The Hague.

April 29: Tribunal orders release of four pro-Syrian security generals held since 2005 in connection with the killing, citing lack of sufficient evidence.

June 7: An anti-Syrian coalition, led by Hariri, defeats Hezbollah and its main Christian ally Michel Aoun in parliamentary elections. Hariri is later appointed prime minister-designate.

November 9: Hariri forms a new unity government that includes two ministers from Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

December 19: Hariri holds “constructive” talks with President Assad in Damascus, ending five years of animosity between Syria and the alliance led by Hariri.


August 25: A UN prosecutor investigating the Hariri assassination urges Hezbollah to hand over more of the information that Hezbollah says implicates Israel.

October 28: Hezbollah urges all Lebanese to boycott the UN-backed inquiry.


January 12: Ministers from Hezbollah and its political allies resign, bringing down Hariri’s government.

2012 to present:

War in Syria has largely overshadowed and crippled the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Hariri’s murder