More than a year since they seized power, Mali's Islamist rebels look to be almost ousted from the country after the intervention of French and African forces.
Take a look back on our coverage of how the crisis in the North African nation unfolded:
Tuareg tribesman - the desert nomads of North Africa - launch an offensive on January 17, attacking several northern towns in Mali.
and adopting Al Qaeda-style tactics.
Many of the Tuaregs involved in the offensive have returned heavily armed after fighting for Moamar Gaddafi in the Libyan uprising.
Tuaregs have nurtured the dream of secession since Mali's own independence from France in 1960, but have little foreign support for a move neighbours fear could encourage other separatist movements.
The Tuaregs - adopting a loose alliance with local Islamists - continue their assault on northern Mali,
Mutinous soldiers over its handling of the rebellion in Mali.
Dozens of troops stormed the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster in the capital Bamako, and attack the presidential palace.
after taking over key buildings in the capital.
The rebels declare independence for what they call the state of Azawad.
The African Union, the EU and France all immediately rejected the independence claim.
in the town of Timbuktu as the rebels retain power there.
The military junta which led the coup against the government announces it will.
Soon after, Mali's president Amadou Toumani Toure formally resigns.
and they impose their radical vision of Islam in Timbuktu.
The group is made up of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters from other countries and Ansar Dine rebels (another Islamist group).
, amid fears the region could become a new Afghanistan.
Niger's president Mahamadou Issoufou warns that jihadi fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan are training Islamist groups in Mali's north.
Fighters from the Ansar Dine group, which controls much of northern Mali, have vowed to destroy all shrines in the city, despite international condemnation.
Rebels desecrate the tombs of Muslim saints, saying they are acting in the name of God.
The that presses West African nations to speed up preparations for an international military intervention, aimed at reconquering northern Mali.
The text unanimously approved by the council also urges authorities in Bamako and representatives of "Malian rebel groups" controlling the north to "engage, as soon as possible, in a credible negotiation process".
January 1, 2013
French forces join the battle against the rebels in Mali, on key regions.
January 16, 2013
France sends in about 2,500 ground troops to Mali, joining a 3,000-strong African force.
Since France began its airstrikes, Islamist rebels have been pushed out of three towns under control, including the world heritage listed city of Timbuktu.
January 30, 2013
French troops seize rebel strongholds and
February 3, 2013
France's president Francois Hollande receives a rapturous welcome as he visits Mali.
Mr Hollande outlines plans for a French withdrawal from Mali and handover to African troops.