Events of March 2011
This page was created to explore the details about the starting of the events leading up to the dire situation two years later. The "birthday of the revolution" is generally dated March 15, 2011. The general story goes like this:
- The events were triggered primarily by the children of Deraa scandal. A first demonstration took place in front of the mosque in the city centre. Children wrote tags on the walls criticizing the regime and demanding the withdrawal of the governor. They were immediately arrested and tortured (finger nails pulled out, etc.). Three of the children were killed. When their parents came to demand their release, the governor told them: « All you have to do is have more children. And if you are not capable, bring your women here and we will do it ourselves ». Publicly humiliated, the parents called on tribal leaders who organised demonstrations in front of the governor’s palace. The protests quickly turned violent. The governor of Deraa was later dismissed by Bachar al Assad, who met with the relatives of the victims.
The significant violent events which triggered protests in other cities are said to have taken place March 22-24 in Dara'a. President Assad has repeatedly claimed in interviews that there have been unidentified snipers at those events who targeted both protesters and police forces.
The discussion page contains a growing collection of roughly timelined sources which haven't yet been compiled into a write-up fit to be included here. Most of that is on the incidents in Deraa which, pivotal as they are, could have done little without the early events in other areas of Syria, notably Homs, Hama, Idlib, and the coastal cities of Latakia and especially Baniyas and Jableh. (as well as some Damascus suburbs, and scattered other hot spots)
What A Closer Look On Syria has to offer is detailed research, where that's available. The following pages already existing here deal with events in these first few weeks, if not strictly March:
- Coastal Uprisings of 2011 This seeks to broadly cover all early activity in the coastal provinces of Tartous and Latakia. Incidents of note:
- Latakia: Train Station Shootings, March 30: About two killed, a few injured, in murky protest conditions, with strange mismatch between the alleged protesters getting shot and the ones freely filming the aftermath.
- Tellawi Family Massacre, April 17, 2011 Jib Abbas, Homs city, an Alawite brigadier-General, two teenage sons, and a teenage nephew, are dragged from their car, executed, mutilated. The government blames Salafist gangs, opposition says the government did it because the Tellawis were thinking of joining the "protesters."
- Timeline of Shabiha References: This section follows mentions of the anti-"protester" boogeymen, the Shabiha, who were mentioned publicly, by that name, by the end of March, 2011, at the latest. They were said to be active first in Baniyas and then in Latakia city, before beginning their alleged reign of terror in Homs starting in April.
- 2011 prisoner releases in Syria: The idea that President Assad deliberately militarized the Syrian uprising by releasing Islamist extremist has been repeated often in the Western press.
- Western backed Social Media "revolution" coming to Syria - Penny for your thoughts, March 24, 2011
- Syria: The hidden massacre, Sharmine Narwani, May 17, 2014
- Daraa 2011: Syria’s Islamist Insurrection in Disguise, Tim Anderson, July 5, 2015
- The day before Deraa: How the war broke out in Syria, Steven Sahiounie, American Herald Tribune, August 10, 2016
- The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t - Stephen Gowans, what's left, October 22, 2016
- Syria: Unraveling the Propaganda - Daniel Margrain, Road To Somewhere Else, January 29, 2017
- When did protest against the Assad government turn to war in Syria? - Robert Fisk, The Independent, August 31, 2017
- The Lebanonization of Syria, Report by French research organisations CF2R and CIRET-AVT, January 2012
- Bashar Al Assad interview by Ad-Dounia TV, Transcript, August 29, 2012