Syrian uprising started in March 2011 when anti-government protests inspired by similar waves in North Africa and the Middle East broke out. In North Africa and the Middle East, similar waves of anti-government protests had ousted long-serving presidents in Egypt and Tunisia. On 18th March, security forces in Dar opened fire on demonstrators protesters killing several people. These protesters were angered when several children were arrested for drafting anti-government graffiti.
These protests went on and on 23rd March over 20 civilians were also killed by security forces after they fired on crowds and then raided a gathering of protesters in a mosque. Following this crackdown and the deaths of civilians, the government denied that it had issued an order to the security forces to shoot protesters.
The government also announced its consideration of implementing major political reforms that included lifting emergency law in Syria and making political parties’ restrictions lose. The emergency law in Syria had been effective for the past 48 years. Opposition figures in Syria dismissed these announcements. On 25th March, after the Friday prayers, people organized and held rallies in major cities in the country.
Although some of these rallies were interrupted by the security forces arresting and beating demonstrators, intense protests went on across the country. In Damascus, large pro-government rallies went on to counter-protests by the opposition. On 29th March, cabinet resignation was announced by the government. Protesters acknowledged the gesture calling for more reforms.
In the day that followed, Assad appeared in public for the first time since the start of the unrest. He addressed the protests before the Syrian legislature. In his speech, Assad claimed that a foreign conspiracy had instigated the protest although he acknowledged the fact that some concerns raised by the protesters were legitimate. However, he resisted the calls by the opposition for instant reforms and instead noted that his government would continue with the plan of introducing reforms gradually.
Although after this speech the state media reported the formation of a commission that would study emergency law repeal, demonstrations started sporadically in the entire country. Despite government attempts to appeal to some segments of the population such as the Kurdish minority and conservative Muslims, protests continued to intensify in major cities. The use of excessive force and killing by security forces earned the government more condemnation from the international community.
After many months of protests and military sieges, the Syrian situation evolved gradually becoming an armed rebellion.
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