Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (January–April 2011)
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Protests began in Syria as early as 26 January 2011, and erupted on 15 March 2011 with a "Day of Rage" protest generally considered to mark the start of a nationwide uprising. The Syrian government’s reaction to the protests became violent on 16 March, and deadly on 18 March, when four unarmed protesters were killed in Daraa
For the background of those protests, see: Background of the Syrian protests (2011).
23 February, Syria's justice minister defended the state of emergency by pointing at the state of war with Israel. A proposal of one parliament member to evaluate the harsh emergency laws was voted down with 249 against one MP.
- 6 March, in the southern city of Daraa, fifteen teenagers were arrested for writing "the people want the regime to fall" on walls across the city. Supposedly the military police tortured them, or had carried them handcuffed out of their classroom.
- 7 March, one day before the 48th anniversary of the 8 March 1963 coup d'état, which led to a permanent state of emergency in force ever since, thirteen political prisoners in Syria went on hunger strike, demanding an end to political arrests and the restitution of rights that have been removed from civil and political life.
- 10 March, dozens of Syrian Kurds started hunger strike in solidarity with those of 7 March.
- 12 March, thousands of Syrian Kurds protested in al-Qamishli and in al-Hasakah, on the day of Kurdish martyrs, commemorating the 30 Kurds that were killed by police after riots broke out at a football game in March 2004 (see 2004 al-Qamishli riots).
- Tuesday 15 March, dubbed "day of rage" by activists, hundreds staged protests in Damascus and Aleppo, calling for democratic reforms. The protest in Damascus was violently dispersed, six protesters were detained by security forces according to a witness speaking to the BBC.
- 16 March demonstrations took place in Marjeh Square in Damascus, near the Interior Ministry, calling for release of political prisoners. Police threatened them with batons and arrested scores of protesters.
- In Daraa, protests started in the al-Balad neighborhood, in reaction to the imprisonment 15 local teenagers by military police (see 6 March).
- Also in Aleppo, Al-Hasakah, Deir ez-Zor and Hama protestors gathered, sources in Syria said; reportedly there were some clashes with security forces. The state news service SANA called the protests the work of outside agitators.
- Friday 18 March, named "Day of Dignity" by some protesters, after a call on Facebook page "The Syrian Revolution 2011" and after Islamic Friday prayers, protests for freedom and democracy and against corruption were held in four cities.
- In Daraa, possibly thousands of locals gathered - peacefully, according to the BBC; armed, according to Arutz Sheva - and marched through the city, chanting: "God, Syria, Freedom", and demanding release of the teenagers detained since 6 March and calling for democracy, greater freedom, political freedom and an end to corruption. An amateur video purportedly shows watercannons being used in Daraa to disperse demonstrators. Security forces opened fire on the crowd killing four. The Syrian government reacted by saying that "infiltrators had caused chaos and riots" in Daraa.
- In Damascus, a crowd, 200-strong, at the Ummayad Mosque tried to march, chanting: "God, Syria and Bashar only", they were attacked by a pro-government group, or forcefully dispersed by plainclothes police wielding batons witnesses said, and 30 were arrested.
- In Homs, 2,000 gathered by the Khaled bin al Waleed mosque, they were assaulted and some were arrested. In Baniyas hundreds of protesters gathered, they were repressed violently.
- 19 March, at funerals in Daraa of two victims of the day before, 10,000 people demonstrated chanting: "The blood of our martyrs won’t be forgotten". Security forces used tear gas, and shot live ammunition at the mourners, killing six protesters and injuring 100. Witnesses reported the gas seemed more toxic than ordinary tear gas. At these funerals, opposition leaders demanded from the authorities the release of political prisoners. On March 20, the government offered to release the students detained on 6 March as a concession.
- Protests were also in three other cities. A human rights group reported that women jailed on 16 March in Damascus had begun a hunger strike.
- 20 March, President Assad sent a delegation to offer condolences to the families of those killed in the clashes in Daraa. Thousands gathered in and around the Omari mosque in Daraa, chanting their demands: release of political prisoners, abolition of emergency law, and: "No fear after today". As the protests heated, the police sprayed tear gas, further angering the protesters who started tearing down a poster of Assad; then the police opened fire into the crowd, witnesses said.
- Protesters then burned the local Ba'ath Party headquarters, the town’s main courthouse and a branch of the SyriaTel phone company owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Assad, a symbol of corruption for the anti-government protesters and considered Syria’s richest businessman. Seven police officers were today killed in Daraa after security forces killed at least four demonstrators.
- 21 March, in Daraa, thousands brought the one, killed on Saturday 19, to his grave. They shouted: "God, Syria, Freedom; the people demand the overcoming of corruption" and: "We are no longer afraid". To calm that situation, president Assad ordered the release of the teenagers detained since 6 March and removed provincial governor Faisal Kulthum from his office. Troops were sent to Daraa. Also hundreds demonstrated in the agricultural town Jasim near Daraa.
- 22 March, in Daraa, hundreds of people had gathered around the Omari mosque, the focus of the protests since 18 March, to prevent government troops from storming it. Security forces opened fire, killing four protesters, human rights activists said. An AFP photographer said he was beaten by security forces in Daraa who seized his equipment.
- Loay Hussein, a political prisoner from 1984 to 1991 and now a prominent rights leader, who had been supporting protesters in Daraa, was arrested at his home in the Sehnaya district near Damascus by Syrian authorities. Protesters also gathered today in the southern towns of Inkhil, Nawa, Al-Sanamayn and Jasim and rural areas around Damascus.
- Early on 23 March in Daraa, Syrian Army police presence was reinforced, and confronted protesters gathered around the Omari mosque (see also 22 March) in the city center, dispersing the crowd with tear gas and live ammunition, killing 5 or 6 according to early activists' and news reports. An Associated Press reporter heard semi-automatic gunfire.
- One of those killed was a doctor, whose funeral was that same afternoon. Thousands attended that funeral after which security forces again fired on demonstrators, according to the reports. During the entire day, Associated Press reported 15 dead, but a later hospital communication said that at least 37 people had been killed. Mobile phone connections to Daraa were cut, and checkpoints in town were manned by uniformed soldiers and plainclothes security agents with rifles.
- Syrian state media however reported a police raid on the Omari mosque during which guns, grenades, ammunition and money had been captured, and "an armed gang" attacking an ambulance killing a doctor, a medical worker and a driver, after which security forces faced the aggressors and managed to shoot a few, or four, of them.
- The Syrian government has blamed the unrest since 15 March on Israeli agents and Palestinian extremists and other ‘saboteurs’ and ‘infiltrators’.
- 24 March, witnesses reported 20,000 Syrians in Daraa at the funerals of nine protesters killed 23 March, chanting: "The blood of martyrs is not spilt in waste!"
- Friday 25 March, early on the day, 100,000 people in Daraa attended an anti-government demonstration, according to a political activist. Later, as thousands gathered and marched to the main square in the city after the funeral of five protesters killed this week, they chanted (against the President’s brother): "Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan", said a Reuters witness. These thousands moved to the governor’s building where they burned a picture of Bashar al-Assad and toppled a statue of Hafez al-Assad (the former president), a witness said. Then, he said, armed men on the roof of the officer’s club started firing at the crowd; the website of Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports that "apparently" 20 people were killed. Website Aljazeera asserts that protesters also burned the home of the governor in Daraa.
- There were also protests in Latakia, Homs, Damascus, Hama, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. Activists reported one or two demonstrators in Latakia shot dead by security forces or killed by a face off between protesters and pro-government supporters, and one shot dead in Homs.
- The Syrian state news agency reported an armed gang in the southern town of Al-Sanamayn attacking security forces which resulted in the death of several attackers. A YouTube video showed seven bloody bodies in Al-Sanamayn lying on stretchers, three clearly with gunshot wounds; the claims that 10 to 20 were killed there by security forces were not independently confirmed.
- In Damascus there were pro-Assad rallies: hundreds of cars plastered with pictures of President Assad and crammed full of youths descended on the central Umayya Square; huge pro-Assad rallies drove around Damascus waving Syrian flags and photos of Assad; thousands chanted their loyalty in support of Assad. But also hundreds of protesters in Damascus expressed their solidarity with the demonstrators killed in Daraa on 23 March, crying out: "We sacrifice our blood, our souls for you in Daraa".
- 26 March: Activists and human rights groups said, according to Al Jazeera and AFP news agency and The Washington Post and Reuters, that the authorities freed about 260 or ‘more than 200’ or ‘70’ (political) prisoners (and (additionally) 42 or 14 Kurdish detainees); two of those four sources specified that most of those 200 or 260 released prisoners were Islamists.
- Some activists and/or Al Jazeera considered this an attempt to appease the increasingly angry demonstrators; Rihawi, head of the Syrian Human Rights League, said that releasing those prisoners was "a good start". Website Spiegel Online International suggests however – without revealing its sources – that Assad released jihadists from the country's prisons in March 2011 with the purpose of quickly radicalizing, and thus discrediting, the Syrian opposition. The Syrian government has not yet commented on these releases.
- In both Latakia 26 March and Tafas (south of Damascus) 26 or 27 March, residents attending funerals (of demonstrators shot dead Friday) set fire to the local Baath Party building and a police station. This resulted in Latakia in three people reportedly killed after a clash with security forces. Government forces were deployed in Latakia.
- In Daraa, hundreds staged a silent sit-in near a mosque, security forces fired tear gas on them, witnesses reported.
- 27 March, early on the day the Syrian state news agency said that armed gangs had attacked neighbourhoods in Latakia, firing from rooftops. Anti-government protesters however accused government forces of opening fire on them. Activists said some demonstrators set fire to a Ba’ath Party building and attacked businesses. The state news agency said later that in the violence 10 or 12 people had died, including residents, "armed elements" and security personnel.
- 29 March, after a government appeal on 28 March, today tens of thousands Syrians demonstrated in support of President Assad, in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Al-Hasakah. AP news agency reported that bank employees and other workers were allowed two hours and school children were given the day off to attend these demonstrations. Website Ynetnews, part of the Israeli Yedioth Media Group, mentioned however "hundreds of thousands of Assad supporters" in the streets; and the Syria-based website of Day Press (Dp-news) mentioned "millions of Syrian citizens" rallying "expressing loyalty to the motherland".
- Also on 29 March, President Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member cabinet under prime minister Naji al-Otari who resigned in reaction to the protests. However, any Syrian government has little power in Syria where power is concentrated in Assad and his family and in the security apparatus.
- 30 March: In a televised address before parliament, President Bashar al-Assad’s first address to the nation since the large protests and their crackdown this March began, Assad said that Syria was going through a "test of unity", while "our enemies are targeting Syria". "The enemies" [of Syria] in their "conspiracy" are promoting "Israel's plans" or the "Israeli agenda". "Conspirators" have tried to reinforce sectarianism to incite hatred and "bring down Syria", he said. "Foreign powers", while stirring up insurrection in a bid to destroy Syria, "adopt the principle of 'lie until you believe your lie'", Assad said. Also, Assad targeted social networking websites and pan-Arabic satellite television news channels. His speech was interrupted by sycophants declaring their undying love for the leader.
- 31 March (or 30 March but not during his television speech), President Assad promised an investigation into the possibility of replacing the emergency law that is in place since 1963 and into the issue of 150,000 Kurds in the region of Hassakah who have been disenfranchised since the 1962 census.
By the end of March, the old neighbourhood al-Balad in Daraa with 15,000 residents (see 16 March) was locked and surrounded by the Syrian Army. When their supplies ran out in April–May the residents of al-Balad were facing famine. By early April, whole Daraa was surrounded by automatic weapons, surface-to-air missiles and tanks, and largely sealed off by the military.
- Friday 1 April, after Friday prayers, thousands of protesters in several cities demonstrated themselves to be unsatisfied with, and unimpressed by, the vague promises of reform President Assad had made the previous day (see above).
- In Douma, a working-class northern suburb of Damascus, citizens gathered on the Municipality Square, hundreds according to Syrian officials, 2,000 according to witnesses who said they were chanting: "Freedom, freedom" when police opened fire on them. At least eleven people were killed. Officials however said, an armed group had taken to the rooftops and fired on both citizens and security forces.
- In Daraa, according to an eyewitness 5,000 people demonstrated, shouting: "We want freedom!" Hundreds tried to march from Daraa to the nearby city of Al-Sanamayn when police fired on them, killing five marchers, reports say.
- In Homs, according to the state news agency, an armed group fired on citizens, killing one girl.
- In Damascus, at the main Umayyad Mosque, government supporters let worshippers out the gates only in small groups, so no crowd could gather, witnesses said. The state-run News Agency denied that any clashes between protesters and security forces had occurred today in Syria.
- 2 April, in Daraa and Homs 21 people were arrested according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, presumably because of their protesting the previous day.
| Unknown Gunmen Filmed at Syria Demo
(YouTube: Associated Press.)
8 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- c. 3–7 April: Quickly after the deadly clash in Douma on 1 April, a high-level Baath party official was sent to Douma to talk to local leaders. Arrangements were made for corpses to be returned to family, injured to be treated, detainees to be freed, and absence of security forces during the funerals. This seems to have stemmed the violence in Douma temporarily, until 15 April.
- 6 April: Syria’s education minister today allowed primary school teachers to wear the full Islamic face veil, niqab, again, which had been banned last July, by which measure hundreds of school teachers had been displaced from their jobs, who now may return to their jobs; this, apparently as accommodation towards many angry conservative Muslims. Today Syria also closed its only casino, in Damascus.
- 7 April: Of the 300,000 Syrian Kurds in region Hasakah who were registered as ‘foreigners’ or ‘stateless people’ as a result of a probably arbitrary stripping of their ancestors’ Syrian citizenship in 1962 (see also 31 March 2011), 220,000 today were granted "Syrian Arab Nationality".
- Friday 8 April, after Friday prayers, in Daraa security forces opened fire to disperse stone-throwing protesters, a witness told Al Jazeera. 27 demonstrators were killed, hospital sources and witnesses said. Protesters in chanted: "The people want the overthrow of the regime". Wounded could not be picked up by ambulances because government security forces prevented them, according to Human Rights Watch after interviewing witnesses. The state-run news agency SANA however said, that "armed groups using live ammunition" during the protests killed 19 members of police and security forces and wounded 75.
- In Harasta, a suburb of Damascus, 2,000 people protested, and on reaching a security forces roadblock mutual throwing of rocks escalated into 'plain clothes men' opening fire with guns. People who were shot and injured could not be reached by others because the forces continued firing, and doctors could not get wounded into the hospital because security forces didn't allow them, according to Human Rights Watch. Unconfirmed reports were that in three people were killed in Harasta.
- In Homs two protesters were killed.
- Amnesty International today had recorded 171 names of people killed since 18 March.
- Mazen Darwish, an activist in Damascus, said about Assad’s 31 March’ pledges of investigations: "It is not about this problem or that problem; it’s about transforming Syria from dictatorship to democracy; (…) to open up political life, have free press and political parties and lift the emergency rule".
- Protests were today also in Latakia, Tartus, Baniyas, Idlib and in other cities. In eastern Syria, thousands of ethnic Kurds demonstrated. In the northeastern city of Qamishli, Kurdish youth apparently rejected Assad’s attempt of overture to Kurds by releasing 48 Kurdish prisoners, when they chanted: "No Kurd, no Arab, Syrian people are one. We salute the martyrs of Daraa".
- 10 April: In the area of the Baniyas port, apparently electricity, telephone lines and internet access were cut. After anti-government protests in Baniyas, pro-government gunmen and security forces killed four people, according to human rights activists. In response, an army unit was ambushed, with nine soldiers being killed, the government said.
- Also on 10 April, president Assad met with Douma residents and gave his personal condolences to the neighbourhood over the deaths on 1 April.
- Between 10–12 April, in the town of Baida near Baniyas, hundreds of men were arrested.
- 11 April: during a protest at Damascus University, a student was shot and killed by security forces.
- 13 April: in Baida, many women demonstrated to demand that the detained men (see 10–12 April) be freed.
- 14 April: President Assad met with a delegation close to the protesters in Daraa. The Daraa delegation afterwards said, Assad had promised them to lift the emergency law by 25 April.
- In Baniyas, according to state media, snipers fatally shot a patrolling soldier.
- State media announced a new government under Prime Minister Adel Safar. In the evening, state television announced that president Assad had "decided to release all those detained after recent events who did not commit crimes against the nation and the citizens".
- Friday 15 April, In the Damascus suburb Douma, thousands of protesters marched towards central Damascus when near Abasyeen Square they were attacked by security forces and intelligence services with pistols and sticks and tear gas, witnesses and activists said.
- In the Barzeh district in Damascus, 250 protesters rallying in front of the Salam mosque were surrounded by dozens of armed men in plainclothes, after which violence reportedly erupted.
- In Daraa, thousands demonstrated with government permission; security forces were not on the streets. Protests were also reported in Baniyas, Latakia, Baida, Homs, Deir ez-Zor and Qamishli. In these cities as in Daraa, some protesters just demanded political reforms, others called for complete regime change or the toppling of the government.
- 16 April: After the new Syrian cabinet was sworn in, President Assad addressed the cabinet in a televised speech. After his address 30 March, this was the second time since the uprising began that Assad addressed the nation. Assad said that the emergency law——banning public gatherings of more than five people——would be lifted by next week, pledged dialogue with trade unions, but also said that "maintaining internal stability" in Syria is his top priority: "the Syrian people (…) love order and do not accept chaos and mob rule". Probably referring to the protests since 15 March, he said: "…last week, I found that there is a gap which started to appear between state institutions and the Syrian citizens (…) we need to fill this gap; but it should be filled with one thing which is (…) the trust of the citizens in the institutions of the state."
- In Daraa, thousands marched, chanting: "The people want the overthrow of the regime", witnesses said.
- In Douma, 1500 staged a sit-in to demand the release of 140 locals who were arrested in a march on 15 April, activists said.
- In Latakia, a rally following a funeral was attacked by security forces firing in the air, a rights campaigner said.
- In Baniyas, 1000 women marched in an all female pro-democracy protest: "Not Sunni, not Alawite. Freedom is what we all want", they reportedly chanted.
- 17 April, in Homs, after evening prayers, a group of 40 demonstrators gathered outside a mosque chanting "freedom", according to a witness; men in civilian clothes jumped out of cars and started firing at the crowd; according to activists, 25 people were killed.
- 18 April, in Homs, early on the day, thousands attended the funerals of protesters killed in that town. Mourners reportedly chanted: "Either freedom or death, the people want to topple this regime". A 45-year-old protester told Al Jazeera: "For decades we’ve been ruled by an iron fist, by the force of weapon", "It’s the first time in my life I break the barrier of silence".
- Also that Monday, Syria’s interior ministry stated that the country was facing an "armed insurrection under the motto of Jihad to set up a Salafist state".
- Late that Monday night, according to a prominent activist, 10,000 people held a sit-in protest at the main central square in Homs. Security forces then opened fire and used tear gas to disperse this sit-in on this Clock Square. According to witnesses, security agents then took up positions to seal off the area and blocked the roads to the square with fire trucks, making it look like a war zone. Around midnight, leftist opposition figure Mahmoud Issa was arrested from his house in Homs.
- 19 April, in Homs, security forces opened fire on protesters to disperse a mass anti-government protest. On 18 and 19 April together, 21 protesters were shot dead in Homs by security police and Alawite gunmen known as ‘al-shabbiha’. Wissam Tarif, director of the Insan human rights group, told Reuters that civilian shabbiha and uniformed security forces, mixed, and all carrying weapons, were now obvious in the streets of Homs. During 17–19 April, protests were also in nearby towns Rastan and Talbiseh.
- The government passed a bill today, lifting the emergency law after 48 years. President Assad still had to sign the legislation.
- 21 April: President Assad endorsed the government law of 19 April, ending Syria’s state of emergency. Reuters wrote, and leading activist Al-Maleh said, that this abolition hardly infringed on the powers of security forces to arbitrary arrests and detentions, or on other state tools of repression.
- Friday, 22 April
- Protests, slogans: On this by activists dubbed "Great Friday" (Arabic: الجمعة العظيمة), anti-government protests were held in at least 20 towns across Syria. Cries for vengeance mixed with calls for the government’s fall. Security forces quelled the protests with live ammunition and tear gas. A protester from a Damascus suburb said via phone to Al Jazeera media network that peaceful demonstrators, going with olive branches, were surprised by the security forces’ shooting. A protester in Douma said to The New York Times: "We are not scared anymore. We are sad and we are disappointed at this regime and at the president. Protests, demonstrations and death are now part of the daily routine". In two Damascus suburbs, protesters tore down Assad’s picture and demolished statues of Assad’s father. In central Damascus after Friday Prayer at the al-Hassan Mosque, hundreds of people gathered. Some of them chanted: "The people want the fall of the government"; security forces dispersed the protests with tear gas, witnesses said.
- Casualties: News media and war researchers are not unanimous on the number of civilian casualties on this day. The New York Times estimated on 23 April and on 6 May that number as: "at least 109". The Institute for the Study of War in December 2011 agreed with that number and called 22 April the deadliest day in Syria between March and September 2011. But Al Jazeera English on 29 April 2011 estimated that on 22 April in Daraa alone already 100 people had been killed. First counts of deaths were in Homs 21, in Izra 15 (for Daraa an initial death-toll was not published). Deaths also were reported in the Damascus suburbs Muadamiyat, Douma, Zamalka, Barza and Qabon.
- government reaction: At Friday night, Syrian state television aired a talk show where speakers blamed foreign media, like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC Arabic, for inciting the protests. A New York Times reporter assumed that the Syrian government emphatically tried to keep the largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, relatively subdued.
- 23 April: In Douma and Barza today tens of thousands buried protesters killed the previous day, when security forces fired into these crowds of mourners. Again 11 people were killed, activists and witnesses said. 250 Syrian soldiers were also sent to Harasta, another suburb of Damascus, to confront a "violent gang", a deserted soldier said in June 2011 to Amnesty International, but they did not find a gang there but only 2,000 unarmed protesters, and saw the secret police and security forces open fire on them.
- The events of the previous, very bloody, day incited Al Jazeera to entitle the Syrian 2011 protests no longer as merely ‘protests’ but henceforward as an "uprising".
- 24 April: In the northern coastal city of Jableh a crackdown of security forces and Syrian army lasted into the night, killing twelve people. A resident said: "The army is deployed all over the area (…) It’s a street war".
Attack on Daraa
Between 25 April and 16 May 2011, the Syrian army attacked and occupied Daraa, since 18 March the most ardent centre of the Syrian protests. The army reportedly deployed 20 or 30 tanks, between hundreds and 6,000 troops, snipers on roofs, and helicopters with paratroopers for the final conquest of the focal Omari Mosque on Saturday 30 April. Presumably 244 civilians and 81 soldiers were killed; houses were reportedly searched to arrest protesters, houses were shelled; almost 1,000 men have reportedly been rounded up. "They want to teach Syria a lesson by teaching Daraa a lesson", a resident commented. There were rumours of soldiers, or an entire army division, having defected, and joined the protesters; these reports have not been independently verified. The government claimed it was battling "terrorist groups" in Daraa. After withdrawal of part of the troops from Daraa on 5 May, army units remained deployed at the city’s entrances.
Blockading of Douma
Douma, a working-class suburb of capital Damascus that had also assumed a vital role in the Syrian protests (see reports 1, 3, 10, 15, 16, 22 and 23 April) was raided and blockaded by army and security forces for at least several days, end of April 2011.
- Monday 25 April: In Douma security forces arrested probably handsful of people.
- 26 April: According to a Human Rights Watch researcher, thousands of government troops raided homes in Douma to arrest suspected protesters.
- 27+28 April: Douma was completely sealed off by security forces, with its residents in need of supplies.
- 25 April: The events of 25 April, especially those in Daraa (see above), incited the prominent international news media to entitle the Syrian protests since mid-March with hindsight no longer as merely ‘protests, but as an "uprising". Since 18 March, 400 civilians and dozens of soldiers and policemen had been reported killed.
- Apart from their actions in Daraa and Douma (see above), security forces also searched houses in Izra, 27 km north-north-east of Daraa, and entered Damascus-suburb Muadhamiya arresting probably handsful of people. Border crossings into Jordan near the southern town of Daraa were reportedly sealed.
- 26 April: In the northern city of Jableh people were arrested, according to Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian government said its actions are a response to an Islamist-inspired uprising.
- 27 April: According to a report of refugees fled into Lebanon, on 27 April a massacre may have taken place in Talkalakh, 20 miles due west of Homs and near the north-Lebanese border. Syrian military allegedly separated Sunni Muslims from Alawi Shia Muslims; arrested a popular Sheikh; Sunnis took to the streets protesting; military in tanks opened fire, killing 40 residents. Also residents would have been dragged away and tortured. No other news channel has yet confirmed anything of this story.
- 28 April: The leadership of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, in exile since in 1982 the Brotherhood was crushed by the government, has today for the first time since the demonstrations in Syria began in March, directly supported these protests: "Do not let the regime besiege your compatriots. Chant with one voice for freedom and dignity. Do not allow the tyrant to enslave you. God is great."
- Since March, 1,000 Syrians have crossed the border into Lebanon, most of them not via the official border crossings.
- Friday 29 April: On this Friday dubbed "day of rage" in most major towns in Syria protests were held, like Homs, Baniyas, Latakia, Raqqa, Hama, Qamishli, Deir ez-Zor, and, for the first time, also in the heart of Damascus, in the Maidan district. 10,000 protesters in Baniyas reportedly shouted: "liberty, solidarity with Daraa" and "down with the regime", and 15,000 in Qamishli and surrounding towns were said to have yelled: "With our soul and with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for Daraa". In Damascus-suburb Saqba protesters chanted: "We’re the youth revolution, not thugs or terrorists".
- Apart from the 33 people killed in Daraa (see above), in Homs 25 people were reported killed, according to activists, and in Rastan 17. The authorities said that today nine members of security forces were killed by "terrorist groups".
- In Deir Ez-Zor, 1,000 people emerged from a mosque and were dispersed by security forces, told AFP.
- In the small village Jiza near Daraa, 13-year-old boy Hamza al-Khatib was taken by his father to an anti-government rally. The boy disappeared, taken in custody by Syrian officials according to Human Rights Watch. Almost a month later (see 25 or 28 May), according to activists, his tortured, badly injured, murdered body was returned to his parents; a video on YouTube purportedly showed gunshot wounds on Hamza’s body. Prominent Syrian activist Razan Zaitouneh considers this story plausible: she believes, the Syrian government wants the people to see this and understand that the most awful thing can happen to their family members in they continue to participate in this revolution. At that same demonstration, the 15-year-old boy Tamer Mohammed al Sharey from Jiza disappeared; a video released on 9 June by activists claimed his dead and tortured body also to be returned to his parents.
- 30 April: Hassan Ismail Abdel Azim, a prominent human rights activist, is arrested from his office by Syrian authorities.
- 138 members of the Syrian Ba'ath Party quit in protest against the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, according to AFP information. Since mid-March 550 people died in the Syrian clashes according to Arab and Syrian organisations for human rights.
The consecutive Timeline-article on these Syrian protests and uprising (by July 2012 considered to have escalated into civil war) is: Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (May–August 2011)
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|access-date=, |date=(help) (Title: ‘…shoot protesters’ probably from 22 April (no longer retrievable), revised title: ‘…Syria uprising’ from 23 April 2011.)
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|Wikinews has news related to:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2011 Syrian protests.|
- The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد Facebook page
- Timeline: Syria unrest, Ahram Online
- Syria Unrest[dead link] collected coverage with live blog[dead link] at Al Jazeera
- Timeline of the Syrian Civil War collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Live updates on Syria’s uprising at NOW Lebanon
- Syria protests (2011) collected coverage at The New York Times
- Syria Comment by Joshua Landis