2011 in Syria

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Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • 26–27 January: On 26 January 2011, Hasan Ali Akleh from Al-Hasakah poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire, in the same way Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi had in Tunis on 17 December 2010. According to eyewitnesses, the action was "a protest against the Syrian government".[1][2]
  • 28 January: an evening demonstration was held in Ar-Raqqah, to protest the killing of two soldiers of Kurdish descent.[3]
  • 4–16 February

On 3 February, a "Day of Rage" was called for in Syria from 4–5 February on social media sites Facebook and Twitter. Protesters demanded governmental reform. Most protests took place outside of Syria, and were small.[5][6][7] The protests were expected to begin on 4 February, as social media mobilised the Syrian people for rallies demanding freedom, human rights, and the end to the country's state of emergency. Protests were also scheduled for 5 February in front of the parliament in Damascus, and at Syrian embassies internationally.[8] Al Jazeera reported increased security for the planned "Days of Rage."[9]

The only known action took place on 5 February, when hundreds of protesters in Al-Hasakah participated in a mass demonstration, calling for al-Assad's departure. Syrian authorities arrested dozens, and a demonstration was quickly triggered.[10] Suhair Atassi, who runs the banned Jamal Atassi Forum, called for political reforms and the reinstatement of civil rights, as well as for an end to the emergency law that has been in place since 1962.[11] However, no protests occurred on either date.[12][13][14] After the failure of attempts to arrange a "Day of Rage," Al Jazeera described the country as "a kingdom of silence". It identified the key factors underlying Syrian stability as the country's strict security measures, the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, and fear of potential sectarian violence in the aftermath of a government ouster (akin to neighbouring Iraq).[15]

  • 17 February
External video
Protests in Damscus, Syria, 17 February 2011 on YouTube

On 17 February, a spontaneous demonstration broke out outside Al-Hamidiyah Souq in Damascus, to protest the police beating of a local shop owner. Several men gathered and blocked a road, while chanting that "The Syrian people will not be humiliated". An eyewitness estimated that there were more than 1,500 demonstrators. Secret police officers arrived on the scene quickly, along with several government officials and finally Syria's interior minister, who dispersed the demonstrators, took the shop owner into his car, and promised an investigation.[4][16][17] A couple of hours later, several videos of the events were posted on YouTube.[18]

  • 22–23 February

On 22 February, about 200 people gathered outside the Libyan embassy in Damascus to protest against the Libyan regime, and ask that the ambassador resign. Despite the peaceful demonstration, there were nearly twice as many secret and uniformed police as there were protesters. The demonstrators carried placards reading "Freedom for the people" and "Down with Gaddafi". The protesters then started chanting "Traitors are those that beat their people", which created nervousness among the security forces, who immediately asked the people to return to their homes. 14 people were arrested but later released, and several more were beaten by policemen. Some protesters were punched, kicked and beaten with sticks. All present had their identities recorded.[4][19][20]

On 23 February, during a routine session of the Syrian Parliament, a member proposed that harsh emergency laws be reviewed. The issue was not scheduled for discussion, and its introduction came as a surprise. A pro-government official who was at the session recalled it with anger. The proposal was rapidly quashed, when the speaker put the proposed review to a vote in the chamber, but none of the other 249 MPs supported it.[21]

  • 6–10 March

On 6 March, a number of boys under 15 years of age were arrested in Daraa, for writing on the walls of the city a slogan of the 2010–11 Arab uprisings that: "the people want to overthrow the regime".[22] It was reported that Libyan Anti-Gaddafi forces shot down two Syrian war planes in Ra's Lanuf, Libya; this was later denied by Syrian officials.[23][24][25] In Lebanon, four brothers, all of them Syrian opposition activists, went missing shortly after passing out flyers in front of the Syrian embassy in Beirut, calling for a demonstration to oppose Syria's government.[26] TIME said that the commitment could still be found among the Syrian youth, but that what was needed was a starting point.[27] Ribal al-Assad said that it was almost time for Syria to be the next domino.[28]

On 7 March 13 Syrian political prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest against "political detentions and oppression" in Syria. They demanded an end to political arrests, the removal of injustices, and the restitution of rights that had been removed from civil and political life.[29][30]

On 10 March, dozens of jailed Kurds in Syria, from the Yakiti party and from the Democratic Union, started a hunger strike in solidarity with other activists who had also initiated hunger strikes in a prison near Damascus three days earlier.[31] Human Rights Watch reacted to the disappearance of Syrian activists in Lebanon four days earlier, indicating that it feared that Lebanon is "back to doing Syria's dirty job".[32] The Syrian Foreign Ministry stated that Syria was monitoring with high concern "the tragic developments in the brotherly country of Libya".[33] Syrian newspaper Al-Watan said that the Syrian government welcomed the fall of Mubarak's regime, and was looking forward to a new leadership that does not "cover for Israeli violations".[34] The Reform Party of Syria asserted that "al-Assad is sending arms to Gaddafi to kill his people with".[35]

12–13 March

On 12 March, thousands of Syrian Kurds in al-Qamishli and in al-Hasakah protested on the day of Kurdish martyr, which is an annual event since 2004, when many Syrian kurds died in anti-government demonstrations.[36][37][38]

Al Jazeera reported that a civilian vessel, loaded with weapons and ammunition and 500 SUVs had sailed from the port of Tartus in Syria towards Tripoli in Libya, in order to supply the Gaddafi forces. The reporter said that the Syrian battalion is fighting alongside Gaddafi against the Libyan rebels.[39][40] That was also confirmed with an interview with Libyan politician Ibrahim Jibreel.[41]

On 13 March, Kamal Hussein Cheikho, a Kurdish member of the Committee for the Defence of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria (CDF), was released on bail of 500 Syrian pounds ($10). He is still facing charges for allegedly publishing material harmful to the country.[42][43][44]

15 March

Simultaneous demonstrations took place in major cities across Syria. Thousands of protestors gathered in al-Hasakah, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hama. There were some clashes with security, according to reports from dissident groups. In Damascus, a smaller group of 200 men grew spontaneously to about 1,500 men. Damascus has not seen such uprising since the 1980s. The official Facebook page called "Syrian Revolution 2011" showed pictures of supportive demonstrations in Cairo, Nicosia, Helsinki, Istanbul and Berlin. There were also unconfirmed news that Syrian revolution supporters of Libyan descent, stormed into the Syrian Embassy in Paris.[45][46][47][48][49]

Another recently released political figure, Suhair Atassi, became an unofficial spokesperson for the "Syrian revolution", when she was interviewed by dozens of Arab and international media channels regarding the uprising. There were reports of 6 arrested in Damascus.[50][51][52][53] Atassi paid tribute to "the Syrian people who took the initiative ahead of the opposition," recalling the popular uprisings that shook Tunisia and Egypt[44] After the first day of the uprising there were reports about approximately 3000 arrests and a few "martyrs", but there are no official figures on the number of deaths.[54]

16 March

Syrian authorities forcibly dispersed a crowd composed of 200 demonstrators in front of the Syrian Interior Ministry. al-Arabiya reported that the protesters were a mix of activists and jurists, writers, journalists, young academics, and family members to people detained in Syrian prisons.[55][56][57] Several security officers managed to infiltrate themselves in demonstrations at different places and started shouting slogans declaring their love and loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad.[58][59] The security forces arrested a number of protestors, Al Jazeera reported 25,[60] while Al Arabiya said 32[61] including activist and lawyer Suhair Atassi and Kamal Cheikho, an activist who had been released two days earlier.[62][63][64] World Organisation Against Torture published list of arrests and demanded immediate release of them.[42]

Mohamed al-Ali, a spokesman for the Syrian Interior Authority denied that any demonstrations took place in Syria and said that the Facebook-campaign has proved unsuccessful. According to the spokesperson, the "claimed protests" consisted of a bunch of people who were "hiding" among the already packed souq and tried to make it look like a demonstration.[65] In another statement, he finally acknowledged the protest but then turned it around by saying that the demonstration which was outside the Interior Authority's building was actually in support of President Bashar al-Assad.[66]

18 March

On 18 March the most serious unrest to take place in Syria for decades erupted.[67] After online calls for a "Friday of dignity" (Arabic: جمعة الكرامة‎), after Friday prayers, thousands of protesters demanding an end to alleged government corruption took to the streets of cities across Syria.[68] The protesters were met with a violent crackdown orchestrated by state security forces. The protesters chanted "God, Syria, Freedom" and anti-corruption slogans.[69]

Amateur video footage posted on YouTube and Twitter showed large groups of protesters in several cities, such as Damascus, Daraa, Homs, Baniyas, al-Qamishli and Deir ez-Zor.[70][71][72] In Damascus, Syrian security forces dressed as civilians broke up protests outside the Umayyad Mosque, dragging away at least two activists.[70] In the southern city of Daraa, people chanted against Rami Makhlouf, who is the cousin of al-Assad. The regime responded with helicopters and water cannons. There were unconfirmed reports that four protesters had been killed and hundreds injured.[67][69] A resident said that Syrian security forces have killed three protesters in Daraa.[67] The Syrian Government responded by claiming that unnamed "infiltrators" had been attempting to cause chaos.[73]

19 March

Syrian security forces fired tear gas to disperse crowds in Daraa following the funeral of two anti-government protesters killed by security forces on the previous day.[74] The crowds had been shouting "God, Syria, freedom" before the security forces intervened.[74] Witnesses said that the gas used appeared to be more toxic than ordinary tear gas.[75] The Syrian League for Human Rights reported that 10 women who had been detained on 16 March following a rally outside the interior ministry had begun a hunger strike.[76]

20 March

Thousands took to the streets in the city of Daraa for a third day, shouting slogans against the country's emergency law. One person was killed and scores injured as security forces opened fire on protesters.[77] The courthouse, the Baath party headquarters in the city, and Rami Makhlouf's Syriatel building were all set on fire.[78]

21 March

Protests started to spread further across the country.[79] Thousands of people took to the streets in Daraa and troops were sent to the city.[80] Hundreds of people protested in Jassem and there were reports of protests in Banias, Homs and Hama.[80][81]

It was reported that an 11-year-old boy had died of wounds suffered when Syrian security forces dispersed a protest rally in Daraa,[82] and meanwhile, the Beirut-based al Akhbar newspaper accused Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Future Movement of paying the Syrian protesters something that which he immediately denied.[83]

Demonstrators in Daraa set fire to the ruling Baath Party’s headquarters and other government buildings. Police officers fired live ammunition into the crowds, killing at least one and wounding scores of others, witnesses said. al-Assad made some conciliatory gestures, but crowds continued to gather in and around the Omari mosque in Dara’a, chanting their demands: the release of all political prisoners; trials for those who shot and killed protesters; the abolition of Syria’s 48-year emergency law; more freedoms; and an end to pervasive corruption.[84]

22 March

There were protests in Daraa, Jassem, Nawa and Sanamayn.[85][86] There were also reports of protests in Inkhil and rural areas around Damascus.[87] In Daraa, gunfire and tear gas was reported near the Omari mosque, which is a major gathering spot for protesters.[88]

An AFP photographer and cameraman were beaten by Syrian security forces in Daraa and had their equipment seized.[85]

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for an investigation into the deaths of six protesters who had been killed by Syrian security forces in March.[85]

23 March

There were reports that at least 15 protesters had been killed by security forces in southern Syria.[89] At least six people were killed by security forces near Al-Omari mosque in Daraa, including a doctor and a paramedic.[89][90] Witnesses reported that a 12-year-old girl had been killed by security forces near the mosque.[89]

Mobile phone connections to Daraa were cut during the day and checkpoints were set up throughout the city and manned by soldiers.[89] Security forces were also preventing ambulances from entering the city centre, where the mosque is located.

On the evening of the 23rd there were reports that Syrian security forces had opened fire on hundreds of young protesters who had been marching towards Daraa.[91]

24 March

Around 20,000 protesters marched at the funerals of nine protesters killed by security forces in Daraa.[92] Syrian Human Rights Committee reported that number of deaths rose to 32,[93] while AFP reported that more than 100 people were killed by police gunfire in Daraa.[94] Syria freed writer Louai Hussein, who was detained earlier this week for posting a petition online demanding the right to freedom of expression[95]

25 March

After new online calls to a big demonstration after Friday prayers named "Friday of Glory" (Arabic: جمعة العزة‎), tens of thousands took to the streets in protest around the nation, defying a state that has once again demonstrated its willingness to use lethal force. Military troops opened fire during protests in the southern part of Syria and killed peaceful demonstrators, according to witnesses and news reports, hurtling the strategically important nation into turmoil.[96]

There were reports that at least 20 people were killed in uprising in Daraa which drew over 100,000 people.[97][98] A witness said that thousands of people chanted against the president's brother: "Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan,"[99] A statue of Hafez al-Assad was dismantled and set on fire.[100] The governor's home was also set on fire.[100]

There were also reports of protests in Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, Homs, Latakia and Raqqa.[97][101] There were reports that one demonstrator had been shot dead by security forces in Latakia and another had been killed in Homs.[102] There were reports that dozens of protesters had died across the country.[103]

A witness said that in Sanamayn, security forces killed 20 people.[101][104] The official Syrian news agency said that an "armed gang" had attacked army headquarters there, that "resulted in the deaths of several attackers."[105] The death of a civilian in Homs was blamed on an "armed group".[105]

Most chants called for solidarity with Daraa and with the people killed there, for freedom, and against regime corruption.[106]

In Tafas, 3 protesters were killed by security forces.[100] In Kafr Amim, Idlib there were a fire at the Baath Party headquarters.[107]

The Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi gave a sermon in Qatar in which he stated: "Today the train of revolution has arrived at a station that it was destined to reach, the Syrian station. It isn't possible for Syria to detach itself from the history of the Arab nation."[108] Also Syrian Salafi cleric in Saudi exile[109] Sheikh Adnan al-Arour advised the youth of the revolution to follow the Egyptian example and endure violence without responding in kind. He voiced hope that the president will intervene and form a dialogue committee to address legitimate grievances.[110]

AFP reported that Syrian opposition leaders-in-exile called in Paris for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad, asking France to maintain pressure on the Syrian leader to "halt the killing of innocents."[107] A YouTube video showed protesters packed into Ar-Rifai mosque in Damascus and chanting “God, Syria, and freedom alone.”.[111] A leaked YouTube video purportedly filmed in the Syrian city of Homs shows security forces changing outfits to look like civilians in order to provoke anti-regime protesters, reports have said.[112]

17 people were killed in demonstration on way to Daraa, while 40 were killed near Omari Mosque, 25 died in al-Sanameen in Homs, 4 in Latakia, 3 in Damascus.[107]

26 March

200 political prisoners were released.[113]

In the cities of Latakia and Tafas, Baath party buildings and police stations were set on fire.[100] Armed gangs were blamed by the authorities for attempting to destabilize the country.[114] The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the government controlled news agency, claimed that an armed group seized rooftops in many areas in Latakia, opening fire on citizens and security forces personnel.[115] Two people were killed, and thousands more protested in Daraa.[100] Two U.S. citizens were reported to be in the custody of Syrian authorities. Mohammed Radwan, 32, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Egypt, and Pathik "Tik" Root, 21, a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, were said to have been detained for involvement in anti-government uprising.[116]

The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Bader Hassoun, said "Any citizen has the right to protest and call for freedom, but I will tell you, all those behind the bloodshed will be penalized. There are no army officials who opened fire at protesters, they only retaliated out of self-defense. After what happened, there should be reconciliation between the people. There are some corrupters in the country and the corrupters should be penalized".[117] As a result of what happened in Homs on Friday, Iyad Ghazal, the governor of Homs was dismissed from his post.

27 March

Syrian officials reported that 12 people were killed in Latakia.[118] An Al Jazeera clip on YouTube records the imam of the Ar-Rahman Mosque in Latakia telling an Al-Jazeera broadcaster that a massacre is occurring in the city.[119]

Buthaina Shaaban, the president's media adviser, stated that the emergency law would be lifted, without giving any indication of when that will be.[120] She also said that the President will appear publicly to address the Syrians and to give official statements of the steps that will be taken by the government. The Reuters news agency reported that two of its journalists are missing. They were last heard of from the night before, when they were expected to cross into Lebanon from Syria.[121] Journalists Sobhi Hasan and Zaher Alamin were rearrested.[122]

28 March

The Reuters news agency reported that its two missing journalists, both Lebanese nationals, had been in the custody of Syrian authorities since 26 March, but were released and they had returned to Lebanon.[123]

Kuwaiti Sheikh Nabeel al-Awadi[124] and Syrian Sheikh Issam al-Attar[125] showed their support for Syrian anti-regime uprising.

29 March

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in support of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Aleppo, Hasaka, Homs, Tartous and Hama.[126][127][128] The Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported that a major cabinet reshuffle was coming,[128] and later that day, President Assad accepted the official resignation of the government led by Muhammad Naji al-Otari, while the latter will serve as caretaker prime minister until a new government is selected and officially announced.[129]

Syrian actor Jamal Suliman announced via BBC that Syrian artists released a statement regarding the ongoing uprising. The artists voiced the importance of "implementing reforms" and the artists’ willingness to "stand by the political system in a serious and reform journey" as well as standing with the people.[130]

30 March

It was reported that Ayat Basma and Ezzat Baltaji two Reuters journalists had gone missing near Damascus.[131]

President Assad made a speech blaming foreign conspirators for the cause of the uprising and declaring that the emergency law will not be lifted as previously confirmed by Shaaban and instead the lift will be put to studies for future application.[132] A YouTube video of a CNN report shows Syrian State television footage of a woman allegedly attacking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s car following his speech on Wednesday.[133]

Disappointed by the president's speech, protesters took to the street in Latakia, where they were fired on by police.[134][135] Mass protests in Daraa to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime following his speech and reports of five new deaths and total of 200 "martyrs" in Daraa since uprising started. The investigative judge in Damascus refused to release the activist Suhair Attasi and four others.[136]

31 March

Two more Reuters journalists Suleiman al-Khalidi and Khaled al-Hariri disappeared in Syria.[137] Syrian President Bashar al-Assad established a commission to study the termination of the emergency law in his country.[138]

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that President al-Assad issued a decree raising the wages of state employees. The decision will go into effect as of 1 April.[139]

A London-based rights group close to the Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday 25 people were killed by security forces in Latakia, northwest of the country, in a "bloodbath."[140]

Early April[edit]

1 April

After online calls for a "Friday of martyrs" (Arabic: جمعة الشهداء‎), thousands of protesters emerged from Friday's prayers and took to the streets in multiple cities around Syria. Security forces opened fire on about 1,000 protesters in the suburb of Damascus, Douma, killing eight. In Damascus, hundreds gathered in Al Rifai mosque to protest after Friday prayers; however, government forces reportedly sealed the mosque and attacked those who tried to leave. Further south, in a small city outside Daraa, a demonstrator was killed during a protest there.[141][142]

2 April

Over 2,000 people protested in support of Assad in the village of Buq'ata in the Golan Heights,[143] while Syrian security forces arrested more than 20 people in Daraa and Homs, according to a human rights group.[144] Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan said he will put pressure on Assad to create reforms.[145]

3 April

Syrian authorities released 50-year-old Reuters photographer Khaled al-Hariri after six days in detention.[146]

Assad appointed Adel Safar as the new Syrian prime minister and charged him with the task of forming a new government.[147]

4 April

Assad appointed Mohammad Khaled al-Hannus as the new governor of Daraa.[148] Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians marched through the shuttered streets of Douma, just outside Damascus, chanting antigovernment slogans as they buried at least eight victims of the crackdown on protests held 1 April.[113]

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the state news agency, reported that 8 prisoners were killed in a fire that was set by one of the prisoners in Latakia prison. Two police men were injured by the fire.[149]

5 April

AFP reported the start of "Martyrs Week" (Arabic: أسبوع الشهداء‎), a series of rallies organized by the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook group in honor of those killed in recent security crackdowns on pro-reform demonstrations.[150] According to state television, two policemen in rural Damascus were shot to death by unidentified perpetrators.[151] 15 people died in protests in Kafr Batna in Syria.[citation needed]

6 April

Assad's government offered concessions to Sunnis and Kurds and that teachers would once again be allowed to wear the niqab.[113] The government had also closed the country's only casino.[152] Tens of thousands of Kurds residing in Syria will soon be granted Syrian citizenship.[153]

The editor of Syrian government daily Teshreen said she is organizing talks with key opposition figures so that they can air their demands for political reforms.[154] A politician close to the regime said that the Syrian parliament is preparing to adopt major reforms in May, including an end to emergency rule.[155]

7 April

Minor protests took place across Syria, but the majority of protesters prepared for large demonstrations planned for Friday.[156]

8 April
External video
Unknown Gunmen Filmed at Syria Demo
(YouTube: Associated Press.)
8 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.

On the third Friday called "Friday of Resistance" (Arabic: جمعة الصمود‎), thousands of protesters took to streets in Daraa, Latakia, Tartus, Edlib, Baniyas, Qamishli, Homs and the Damascus suburb of Harasta, in the largest protest yet.[157][158]

27 anti-government protesters were killed in Daraa and many other were wounded when security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters.[158][159] The clashes started when thousands of prayers staged rallies following the Friday prayers. In a telephone call one of the activists told the news agencies that demonstrators, starting from three mosques, have marched to the city's main court where they were confronted by security forces dressed in civilian clothing.[160] A witness told Reuters he saw "snipers on roofs."[161] It was also reported that another resident has seen "pools of blood and three bodies" in the Mahatta area of Daraa.[161] The protesters have also smashed a stone statue of Basil al-Assad, the brother of the current President of the country, and set fire to a Ba'ath Party outpost.[160][161][162] The state-run Syrian Television reported that 19 police officers and members of the security forces have been killed in Daraa.[163]

At least three people were killed in Damascus's suburb city of Harasta and two people were killed and dozens wounded in Homs, Syria's third largest city.[164] A human rights group said 37 people killed in protests across the country on Friday.[113]

9 April

Witnesses in the city of Daraa reported that Syrian security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at thousands of protesters who had gathered for a mass funeral near a mosque.[165] In Latakia, witnesses said Syrian security forces used live ammunition to disperse hundreds of people who gathered to protest. Another witness said water trucks had been brought in and were hosing down the streets to wash away blood.[166]

Mid April[edit]

10 April

The death toll of the previous day's events was up to 26 people in Daraa,[citation needed] 20 in the Homs neighborhood of Teldo and one in Baniyas.[citation needed] On 10 April's morning, militiamen alleged to be members of the shabbiha opened fire on demonstrators in front of the main mosquee of Baniyas, killing at least 4. Uprising also took place in Homs, Douma and Daraa.[167] 9 soldiers of a unit of the Syrian army were killed in an armed ambush on a road near Baniyas, including two officers, while many others were injured.[168]

11 April

Students in the Science faculty of Damascus University, located in the Baramkeh area in Damascus, began a demonstration in which they chanted for freedom and support of the people in Daraa and Baniyas. However, the Damascus University Dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Mohammad Said Mahasni, denied the reports, and said instead that a number of students gathered in front of the faculty, rejecting attempts of destabilizing Syrian national security, and chanting national slogans and support for Assad.[169][170] In Baniyas, funerals for the 4 protesters who were shot down by the military led to a new demonstration, and security forces attacked the city until late at night.[171]

12 April

The day started with a confirmation that one student was beaten to death by security forces during the demonstration at Damascus University one day earlier. Witnesses reported that the suburb of Bayda in Baniyas was surrounded by tanks, and ongoing gunfire by security forces had led to dozens of injuries,[172] while neither ambulance cars nor necessary food-aid that had been sent from the nearby city Tartus were allowed to enter the village.

13 April

Hundreds of women took part in a march demanding the release of 350 men arrested in town of Bayda. Protests also spread to Aleppo University, as security forces and students clashed on the campus of Aleppo's faculty of literature and three students were arrested. In Damascus, about 50 students staged a pro-freedom protest at the faculty of law.[173]

14 April

Assad announced the release of hundreds of prisoners that were "not involved in criminal acts", and that a new government had been formed (see Cabinet of Syria). In the coastal city of Baniyas (Banias), the army replaced the secret police. Shortly afterwards, a sniper killed one soldier and wounded another. Assad also met with a delegation from Deraa in his first direct contact with representatives close to the protesters.[174][175]

300 people protested in Suwayda.[176]

15 April

On "Friday of determination" (Arabic: جمعة الإصرار‎), tens of thousands of people held protests in several Syrian cities, including Baniyas, Latakia, Baida, Homs, and Deir ez-Zor.[177][178] Al Jazeera reported that up to 50,000 protesters trying to enter Damascus from the Douma suburb were dispersed by security forces using tear gas, while in the Barzeh district of the capital violence erupted when dozens of armed men in plain clothes surrounded about 250 protesters rallying in front of a mosque.[179] On the other hand, thousands demonstrated in Daraa, but security forces were not visible in the city, as the authorities reportedly allowed the uprising to take place.[178]

16 April

Thousands of people marched in Deraa chanting anti-regime slogans, while in the Damascus suburb of Douma, 1,500 residents staged a sit-in, demanding the release of 140 people arrested a day earlier.[180]

In Majdal Shams In the Israeli controlled area of the Golan heights, almost 200 people demonstrated in opposition to Assad and the regime.[181][182]

On the same day, Assad spoke to the People's Assembly in a televised speech, stating that he expects his government to lift the emergency law the following, and acknowledging there is a gap between citizens and the state, and that government has to "keep up with the aspirations of the people".[183] Later in the day he welcomed his new cabinet with a speech containing more specifics (full text). He spoke of the importance of reaching "a state of unity, unity between the government, state institutions and the people"; stressed the need for dialogue and consultation in multiple channels, popular support, trust and transparency; explained the interrelatedness of reform and the needs of citizens for services, security and dignity. He stated the first priorities were citizenship for Kurds, lifting the state of emergency in the coming week or at the latest the week after, regulating demonstrations without chaos and sabotage, political party law, local administration law in both structure and elections, and new and modern media law, all with public timeframes. The next topics were unemployment, the economy, rural services, attracting investment, the public and private sectors, justice, corruption, petty bribery, tax reform and reducing government waste, followed by tackling government itself with more participation, e-government, decentralization, effectiveness and efficiency, as well as closer cooperation with civil society, mass organizations and trade unions.

17 April

About 300 protesters took to the streets in Suweida, but were dispersed by security forces. Reportedly, demonstrations also took place in Aleppo, Baniyas, Homs, and Hirak, mostly chanting slogans for political freedom. SANA reported seizure of a large number of weapons hidden in a lorry coming in from Iraq.[184] Security forces opened fire on a funeral procession on a highway outside the town of Talbiseh, killing three people. In Homs, clashes between protesters and security forces took place after a tribal leader died in custody. 12 protesters were killed.[185]

18 April
External video
General Tellawi's mutilated body, Homs, Syria, 18 April 2011 on YouTube
External video
Protests in Homs, Syria, 18 April 2011 on YouTube

A high-ranked officer of the Syrian army; brigadier-general Abdo Kheder al-Tellawi was shot dead by an armed group in Homs along with his 2 children and nephew.[186][187] According to the director of the National Hospital of Homs Dr. Ghassan Tannous, the bodies of the victims have been maimed and mutilated with the use of sharp tools.[188] More than 10,000 demonstrators staged an anti-government sit-in in Homs, and a massive funeral procession for six demonstrators who had been killed also took place in the city. In Baniyas, about 300 children released balloons with slogans calling on Assad to leave power.[189]

Security forces shot dead at least 13 people when dispersing a protest. The Syrian Ministry of Interior announced that the latest developments in Syria such as the killing of policemen, army soldiers and civilians and terrifying people are all armed mutiny led by extremist Salafi armed groups.[190]

19 April

A colonel-pilot of the Syrian air forces; Mohammad Abdo Khaddour was shot dead by an armed group in front of his home in Homs.[191][192][193] Police forces use combat rounds and tear gas to disperse a sit-in, deaths are confirmed, but their number is unknown.[194] Police forces cause 3 deaths after opening fire on a funeral mourning dead protesters. The authorities vowed to "crush any new uprising". A witness reported that the gunfire lasted at least two hours.[195]

20 April

Activists said that 4000 university students protested in Daraa.[196] Around 20 students protested at the faculty of medicine of Aleppo University where they were quickly denied and absorbed by a pro-Assad rally.[196][197][198]

Late April[edit]

21 April

Protesters call for Friday to be their biggest yet, in what they dub as "the Great Friday" (Arabic: الجمعة العظيمة‎).[199]

22 April The Great Friday

For the first time, major demonstrations occurred in Damascus itself. Other cities where protesting was particularly strong were in Daraa, Baniyas, Al-Qamishli, and Homs.[200][201] The Douma and Harasta sections of Damascus were particularly filled with protesters. Firing throughout the country resulted 88 deaths among security forces and protesters, making it the bloodiest day so far.[200][202]

23 April

Throughout the country, funerals for fallen protesters occurred. Snipers reportedly fired, killing 8 people in Daraa with 5 members of the security forces among them.[203][204]

24 April

A Syrian human rights organisation said that 9 civilians were killed in Jableh by security forces and pro-Assad gunmen.[205]

25 April

Tanks and soldiers entered Daraa and Douma.[206][207] The border with Jordan was also closed.[206][207] According to an activist, 18 people were killed in Daraa.[207]

27 April

The army continued its crack down into the 27th of April, and over the span of three days arrested over 500 people. Several dozen died from the raids. The Syrian government intensified their raids using more tanks and brigades. 2 Jordanian civilians were amongst those killed. On 27 April 233 members of the Ba'ath Party, amongst them parliament members, resigned over the violence against protesters and civilians.[208]

28 April

It has been confirmed that there are defections from within the Syrian army. Two battalions were sent into Deraa on 25 April, the fourth division and the fifth division. The fifth division refused to open fire on protesters, and there has been gun battles between the fourth and fifth divisions. The fourth division is controlled directly by Maher Assad, Bashar's brother.[209]

29 April

Bashar's forces have cut off Daraa's water supply and electricity several days ago, as well as other cities in Syria. They have confiscated flour and food as well, in an effort to starve the people of Daraa. Activists called for another Friday of protests, dubbed "Solidarity with Daraa day".[210]

Protests occurred nationwide including in Damascus in order to show solidarity with Daraa. At least 62 civilians were reported killed, many from Daraa.[211]

30 April

The military increased their presence with more tanks and military helicopters. Snipers were positioned on buildings. Tanks began firing indiscriminately on houses, and also destroyed the local mosque. Snipers and military vehicles were also placed in other cities in the country such as Homs. Activists had called for this week, starting this Sunday, to be the "week of breaking the siege of Daraa" with the aim of stopping the siege on Daraa.[212]

A video taken allegedly shows the dead bodies of protesters from Daraa wrapped in burial cloth and gathered and stored in a refrigerated room, as the people of Daraa are unable to burial them due to the military and sniper presence.[213]

Early May[edit]

1 May

Protesters throughout Syria remained defiant despite intensifying arrests and attacks in Daraa and Douma.[214]

The Syrian military continued shelling homes in Daraa with tanks.[215]

2 May

As the military siege on Daraa continues, Assad's security forces killed 40 civilians the previous day elsewhere in the town of Tel Kalakh. By 2 May, 4000 people crossed the border into Lebanon.[216]

4 May

The deadly military siege on Daraa continued. Arrests intensified in Damascus, with large protests anticipated for Friday after prayers.[217]

5 May

Dozens of tanks have been sent to the Syrian city of Homs as part of the crackdown.[218] Syrian army tanks raid Saqba and other suburbs of Damascus.[219] The Syrian army pulled out of Daraa[220] By the end of the day the army prepared to attack Baniyas as it did in Daraa.[221]

About 100 tanks and troop transports converged on the town of Al-Rastan, after anti-regime protesters toppled a statue of the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad and pledged to press ahead with their revolution despite sweeping arrests by Bashar al-Assad's regime.[222]

6 May

Many anti-government protests occurred, starting mainly in the Kurdish Northeast and Damascus suburbs. Baniyas, Homs, and Hama were also among the cities which witnessed large demonstrations. 11 members of the Syrian army were killed by an armed group in Homs as a result of an armed attack on a military checkpoint.[223] 16 civilians in Homs and Hama were shot dead by security forces.[224][225][226]

7 May

The Syrian army began a siege on Baniyas, with at least 6 civilians dead on 7 May, among them 4 women.[227]

8 May

The Syrian army began a siege on Tafas, near Daraa, and arrested at least 250 people there.[228]

9 May

The Syrian army continued its house to house raid on Baniyas, Tafas, Homs. Arrests were ongoing in Damascus as well, where gunfire was heard.[229]

Mid May[edit]

10 May

The Syrian army prepared a siege on Hama, as the siege on Baniyas, Tafas, and Homs, and Damascus continued.[230] The European Union imposed sanctions on 13 government individuals including Maher al-Assad, Bashar's brother, who commands the security brigades.[231] Kuwait will also replace Syria for bid on membership of the UN human rights council due to Syria's oppression of protesters.[232]

11 May

In an escalation of the siege on Homs, tanks were sent in and began shelling buildings, with at least 5 killed. Secretary general of the UN Ban Ki-moon demanded that the UN have access to Daraa.[233]

12 May

Mass arrests were carried out in Allepo against students who protested. The siege of Homs, Tafas, and Baniyas continued. Tanks were sent towards Hama.[234] Dael, Jassem, and Al-Harah were also under siege by tanks and troops.[235]

13 May

Bashar Al-Assad reportedly ordered the Syrian army "not to shoot" at protesters ahead of expected Friday protests.[235] Security forces have set up checkpoints and roadblocks all across Syria. Demonstrations first began in Hama and Qamishli and Homs. Towns across the Kurdish northeast protested as Kurds have been intensifying their protests. Thousands rallied in Daraa where security forces fired warning shots. Thousands rallied in Damascus, where police presence was especially large, particularly in the Midan suburb, where thousands of officers were deployed to stop them from entering other parts of Damascus. People tried to protest in Baniyas and Latakia, but were shot at with live ammunition.[236]

Three people were shot killed by security forces in Homs, 2 in Damascus, and 1 in Daraa.[237][238] Despite the intensified crackdown and massive police and army presence, the strength and the amount of protesters in Damascus appeared to have only increased.[239]

14 May

The government continued to prevent food from being sent to Daraa, in an effort to starve people into stopping their protests.[240] The army launched a siege on Talkalakh, killing four civilians and sending hundreds to seek refugee in Lebanon. Protesting occurred in several cities, including Daraa. Funerals for slain protesters were held in Damascus's suburbs. The Kurds protesting in the north have called on all opposition forces in and out of Syria to unite into one party aiming at transferring Syria from a dictatorship to a democracy.[241]

16 May

The Syrian army's siege across the country continued, especially in Talkalakh, where 7 civilians were killed by Syrian army snipers when trying to cross the border into Lebanon. By this point 5,000 people had crossed the border intio Lebanon. In Daraa people found a mass grave when they were allowed to walk out of Daraa by security forces, only for a curfew to be put back in when they found the mass grave.[242]

17 May

The chief of the Politaical Security Forces of Homs and 4 other officers were killed by an armed group in Talkalakh.[243][244][245] The civilian death toll from the Syrian army's siege on Talkalakh risen to 27. Thousands attended funerals for slain protesters in Damascus the previous day. University students attempted to protest in Allepo, but were dispersed by an immense security presence. Activists called for a general strike in Syria starting Wednesday.[246]

19 May

The general strike did not affect Damascus significantly, which is mostly blamed on the fear factor. Other towns saw greater levels of general strike. The USA put up sanctions on six top Syrian government officials, including Bashar al-Assad. As the opposition promised to continue their campaign, shootings and arrests of protesters were ongoing in Syria, as well as the siege and starvation of Talkalakh.[247]

Late May[edit]

Friday 20 May,

Over 23 people, including 2 boys, were killed by security forces across Syria. Most of the deaths occurred in Homs. For the first time Assyrian Christians joined protests, in which many were arrested.[248] Protesters burned down the Ba'ath headquarters in Abou-Kamal. 4 protesters were killed in the Berze section of Damascus, where security forces surrounded it and shut off its electricity. 9 of the 23 dead protesters were killed in Hama, and another 9 in Kafr Nabal. Qamishli saw large protests by the Kurds. Other cities that saw thousands protest were Hama, Homs, Sanamin, Hassake, Amouda, Ras al-Ain, Tel, Baniyas, and Latakia.[249]

21 May

The death toll from Friday through Saturday rose to 76. Security forces in Homs fired on a funeral procession, killing 22 mourners.[250] A video released allegedly shows soldiers gathering dead bodies of Syrian protesters and mocking them.[251]

24 May

Human rights groups say the civilian death toll has reached over 1,100. They also confirmed that soldiers who refused to fire on civilians were executed by the Syrian army.[252] A large number of opposition groups are reportedly planning to meet in Turkey at the end of the month; to attempt to elect a transitional council, connect with protesters inside the country, and present the international community with a clear alternative to Assad.[253]

25 May

Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb's tortured lifeless body was delivered to his family with three gunshot wounds, his genitals cut off & bruises all over. Hamza was a 13 years old Syrian boy, he lived with his parents in a village called “Al Jeezah” or “Al Giza” in Daraa governorate. He joined his family in a rally to break the siege of the city of Daraa. He was detained among hundreds of Syrian during the massacre of Siada, where citizens of Deraa were randomly killed by Syrian security forces. Hamza was detained amongst hundreds. According to his autopsy he was shot down after cutting his genitals. The chief of Syria's medical examiners association Dr. Akram El-Shaar denying that Hamza was tortured, claimed that he supervised the autopsy in Damascus and that the boy did not have any sign of torture. Also claiming that all signs of disfigurement were due to decay.[254]

26 May

Protesters plan to launch more large demonstrations Friday. This Friday dubbed, Honor to the Guardians, will focus on asking the Syrian army to defend its people rather than its government.[255]

27 May

Protests occurred throughout the country. A total of 7 protesters died. Cities where several thousand protested in each included Baniyas, Berze, Qatana, Deir al-Zur, Zabadani, Dael, Daraa, Ablu Kamal, and Homs. Tens of thousands protested in Hama.[256]

In the Daraa area, a 13 year old boy by the name of Hamza al-Khateeb was detained by Syrian security forces, tortured, had his genitalia cut off, and then killed by them breaking his neck. His body shows copious signs of burn and whip markings, as well as bullet holes in each arm.[254][256]

30 May

14 civilians were killed in Syria by security forces, including a young girl. Cities and towns in the Daraa and Homs region saw the most intense protests. In response the Syrian army launched attacks and sieges on many towns and villages in the Homs and Daraa region, especially near Homs.[257]

July[edit]

4 July

Syrian Salafi cleric in Saudi exile Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour says the Syrian rebels will chop the Alawites who opposed the revolution and feed their flesh to the dogs.[258]

August[edit]

18 August

Popular Egyptian Sunni preacher Sheikh Muhammad Al Zughbey[259] calls the Syrian people to murder the Assad family and all Alawites via Saudi satellite TV, because they are "agents of the jews."[260]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

May - Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb, murder victim (born 1997)

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