The Syrian Civil War: How it all started ?

Back to 2011, would you predict the mess Syria is now ?

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Jo

Administrator
Master Penguin
#1
It has been more than 4 years now, Syria is destroyed, Syrians are refugees everywhere in the world.

How did all this start ?

First of all, some background on Syria:
. In 1946, Syria became an independent republic.
. The Baath party came to power in 1963 after a successful coup.
. In 1966, another coup overthrew Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al Bitar, bringing General Hafez el Assad
. In November 1970, Hafez became Prime Minister
. In March 1971, Hafez declared himself President.
. In July 2000, Hafez died and Bachar el Assad became President of Syria
. In August 2001 the government arrested and imprisoned ten leading activists who had called for democratic elections

. Population: ~23 million
* 60% Arab Sunni
* 16% Alawite, Shiaa and Ismaeli
* 12% Christians
* 10% Kurds Sunni
* 2% Turks Sunni

What happened in early 2011 ?

Influenced by the Tunisian and Egyptian arab springs, it all started with very small protests in January 2011.
On 28 January 2011, Hasan Ali Akleh soaked himself with gasoline and set himself afire.
Various other incident happened in February including the intelligence/police beating shop keepers, demonstrators and political activists.

March 6th 2011, a dozen of teenagers wrote the walls of Daraa "The people want the regime to fall" or "الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام ".
Military police came to the teenagers' schools the same week and carried them out from their classroom handcuffed. When their fathers went to the detention center and asked for clarification surrounding the arrests the police responded by: "Send your women here and we will give you new sons."

March 15th,16th 2011,
(this date is considered the birthday of the revolution) hundreds (mostly relatives of political prisoners) protested in Damascus and Aleppo. The police arrested a dozen protester in Marjeh Square Damascus .
Also, smaller protests erupted in Daraa, Hasakah, Deir el Zoor and Hama.

Friday the 18th of March,
by this time Mosques became the headquarters of the protests and protests after the Friday prayers were common.
In Daraa, people demanded for the release of the teenagers, 4 protesters were killed by police. Other protests also erupted in Damascus and Homs which consisted of more than 2000 protester (biggest one so far).

The next day, 19th of March, more than 10,000 people participated in the funerals of the killed protestors. Security forces used tear gas, and shot live ammunition at the mourners killing several protestor (number is not known, BBC say it was one and NYTimes say six).

20 March 2011,
Assad sent a delegation to Daraa to offer condolences. They were met with protesters in front of the Omari Mosque. Police faced them with tear gaz and live munition. Protesters then proceeded to burn the Baath Party HQ, the courthouse and a branch of the SyriaTel (owned by Rami Maakhlouf, the richest man in Syria) killing 7 policemen and several other protestors (also number is not known).

Several other protests erupted later in March killing more civilians and policemen. One thing to note is that the number of killed civilians was always conflicted between several news agencies. Probably the most important one was on 23 March where police stormed on thousand demonstrators near the Omari mosque in Daraa killing at least 37 according to the local hospital.

On Friday 25 March, the number of protestors in Daraa reached 100,000, protestors destroyed the governor office in Daraa and then burned his home.

Friday the 30th of March 2011,
Bachar al Assad delivered his first speech since the demonstration started. He promised reforms, replacing the emergency law and solving the issue of 150,000 Kurds in Hasakah.

It is also worth noting that a lot of pro-government demonstration where happening in Damascus.

By the end of March, the old neighbourhood al-Balad in Daraa was locked and surrounded by the Syrian Army.

One week later, in early April, the whole town of Daraa was surrounded by the army who deployed automatic weapons, missiles and tanks.

More protests around the country took place, especially in Douma where several protestors where killed. The government blamed the incident on gangs who fired from the rooftop of buildings, the protestors blamed the "shabi7a".
Delegations were being sent everywhere in the country to calm things down, promising reforms and listening to concerns.

The Government tried to calm things down by:
6 April 2015
: In an effort to calm the protestors, Syria’s education minister allowed primary school teachers to wear the full Islamic face veil, which had been banned in 2010. Also, the only casino in Syria was closed.

7 April
: Of the 300,000 Syrian Kurds in Hasakah, 220,000 were granted Syrian Nationality.

16 April
: After the new Syrian cabinet was sworn in, President Assad addressed the cabinet in a televised speech saying: “maintaining internal stability is our priority now” - “the Syrian people love order and do not accept chaos and mob rule”. “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.”

21 April
: President Assad ended Syria’s 48 years' state of emergency.

Demonstration continued all over Syria, spreading to more and more areas, it is worth noting that now some protests were allowed by the government and police was not present.
Although police was not "officially" present at the demonstration location, more civilians were killed. The murderers were dressed in civilian clothes according to eye witnesses.

Army crackdown
Staring 25 April, the army shut down electricity, water and phone lines then entered the city of Daraa with a show of force.
The army used thousands of troops, 20 to 30 tanks and paratroopers to storm the Omari Mosque. According to news agencies, 244 civilians were killed and 81 soldiers.
The army also entered the town of Douma arresting people and storming hundred of houses.

The uprising

On Friday the 29th of April, dubbed as the "Day of Rage" and in most major towns in Syria protests were held, like Homs, Baniyas, Latakia, Raqqa, Hama, Qamishli, Deir ez-Zor, and also in the heart of Damascus, in the Maidan district.

After May 2011, several cities were put under siege by the army, several soldiers and officers defected. The most important cities/areas that were put under siege are: Homs, Baniyas, Tafas, Talkalakh, Rastan, Talbiseh, Jisr al Shoughour.
Several massacres occurred all over the country (opposition sources) and things now were out of control.

By July 2011 the Free Syrian Army was formed and Syria was officially in a civil war.


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  • Nasser

    Well-Known Member
    #3
    Back in 2011 I don't think anyone would have known what will be the image of Syria in 2015.

    The most important tragedy is that the Syrian people have paid and is still paying dearly for the brutality of the regime, the intelligence work that increased the instability. No population deserves to face what the Syrians have faced.

    A note that should be mentioned, during my experience with Syrians in Lebanon and outside Lebanon (spent some time working in the gulf), I've met tens if not hundreds of Syrians from different religious/political background (Sunnis,Alawis,Durzis..), and none of them , not even a single one, looked or acted secterian. They were all good people with a good heart. They all loved their country. They were all decent people.

    I hope Syrians now, even for just one moment, stop whatever they're doing - whether they're fighting,working,studying.. - look around themselves and see the picture of what really happened, the mess they're in. Do they want that to continue? I definitely doubt that any of them want this situation to continue. Each group of them want this to end, probably each have his own version on how this would end. They should unify their vision. For their own good.
    However, it is in their hands. No regional force or international force have an interest in stopping this war. Only them can achieve that.

    That might be wishful thinking, but I pray for Syrians, all of them. I pray for them to overcome this mess.
     

    My Moria Moon

    Legendary Member
    Staff member
    #4
    The first forum thread about the Syrian war was started on 2011 mars 16

    Nafar said:
    This thread is to discuss the demonstrations that just started in Syria.
    Until now we have the following events:
    1) Demo in Kurds area w
    2) Demo in Damascus yesterday chanting Liberty slogans
    3) Demo today in front of interior ministry and the security forces arrest 5 demonstrators.

    Will the syrian people be up to the challenge and topple the baath dictatorship regim?


    Regards,
    and I happened to write the very first reply to the thread. Here:

    My Moria Moon said:
    I hope so, one day, but I hope also that day is not any soon.

    You see, me too, and like other mighty regional or international powers :biggrin:, I look for the interests of my country, first and foremost. So call me a hypocrite if you wish, it wouldn't bother me the least, and I will call myself a pragmatic hypocrite and stay fine with it.

    As much as I truly wish for a democratic, free and peaceful Syria on my "khassirte" one day, I do not wish that Assads regime, who now is supporting HA and the oppsoition in general, goes down any soon. Not before the Saudis regime go to hell first, and definetly not before that regimes destructive agents in Lebanon go to hell with it.

    But between you and me, I don't think any opposition in Syria is able within any foreseeable future to bring down Bachar. If, against all odds, this happens, Syria will probably be set on a raging civil (sectarian) war fire long before. And if that happens overthere, there's a risk our own beef will be already fried and burned. We do not want that to happen to us, or do we?

    Missed of course the details of abou li7ya al 3anzee and the thousand other aliases who later popped up, but wasn't that far after all from describing the current reality..

    I also remember a post by shadow, allah yezekro bel kheir wherever he is, where he predicted the massive invasion and escalation of Syrian refugees..

    War in Syria - News and Discussions [Year 2011 Events] | The Orange Room - Lebanon's number one discussion forums
     
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    Venom

    Legendary Member
    #5
    Back in 2011 I don't think anyone would have known what will be the image of Syria in 2015.

    The most important tragedy is that the Syrian people have paid and is still paying dearly for the brutality of the regime, the intelligence work that increased the instability. No population deserves to face what the Syrians have faced.

    A note that should be mentioned, during my experience with Syrians in Lebanon and outside Lebanon (spent some time working in the gulf), I've met tens if not hundreds of Syrians from different religious/political background (Sunnis,Alawis,Durzis..), and none of them , not even a single one, looked or acted secterian. They were all good people with a good heart. They all loved their country. They were all decent people.

    I hope Syrians now, even for just one moment, stop whatever they're doing - whether they're fighting,working,studying.. - look around themselves and see the picture of what really happened, the mess they're in. Do they want that to continue? I definitely doubt that any of them want this situation to continue. Each group of them want this to end, probably each have his own version on how this would end. They should unify their vision. For their own good.
    However, it is in their hands. No regional force or international force have an interest in stopping this war. Only them can achieve that.

    That might be wishful thinking, but I pray for Syrians, all of them. I pray for them to overcome this mess.
    you are100% right about the Syrians, but unfortunately its not in their hands anymore to end this war as you stated. I am sure many they want this to end but you have now more foreign fighters than Syrians inside Syria fighting.
     
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    Nasser

    Well-Known Member
    #6
    you 100% right about the Syrians, but unfortunately its not in their hands anymore to end this war as you stated. I am sure many they want this to end but you have now more foreign fighters than Syrians inside Syria fighting.
    I know it is a wishful thinking that they can end it on their own (it is too messy now), but if there is a will there is a way! I just pray for them to find a way somehow.
     

    eLad

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    #7
    Thank you Jo for this summary of events, reading it they way you put it makes you automatically support this revolution and call for the fall of this ruthless regime.

    what you didn't mention however is the way those demonstrations turned sectarian and made all those like ourselves who were sympathizers of this uprising turn against it.

    I am also convinced that opening fire on protesters was the work of instigators. the regime is not that dumb to do this at a time where the arab spring was raging in most of the arab countries ruled by dictators such as Assad
     

    Jo

    Administrator
    Master Penguin
    #9
    Thank you Jo for this summary of events, reading it they way you put it makes you automatically support this revolution and call for the fall of this ruthless regime.

    what you didn't mention however is the way those demonstrations turned sectarian and made all those like ourselves who were sympathizers of this uprising turn against it.

    I am also convinced that opening fire on protesters was the work of instigators. the regime is not that dumb to do this at a time where the arab spring was raging in most of the arab countries ruled by dictators such as Assad
    What i talked about was a resume of events timeline. tfawwetne bi sectarian w ma ba3ref shou halla2, ma men3od nekhlas :p

    I also think that the shooting on the protestors was not the work of the regime but i have seen the regime doing stupider moves so i wouldn't be surprised if it really was its doing. At the end, we will never know.

    What is important now is how developed this Syrian Civil War is and how un-winnable by any side it is becoming.
     

    eLad

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    #10
    What i talked about was a resume of events timeline. tfawwetne bi sectarian w ma ba3ref shou halla2, ma men3od nekhlas :p

    I also think that the shooting on the protestors was not the work of the regime but i have seen the regime doing stupider moves so i wouldn't be surprised if it really was its doing. At the end, we will never know.

    What is important now is how developed this Syrian Civil War is and how un-winnable by any side it is becoming.
    well turning sectarian is a major turning point of this uprising, it's not an opinion, it's a fact
     
    #12
    Brutal dictator massacres his own people. His people, knowing nothing else but brutality their whole lives, respond in a brutal manner. Fast forward a few years and the Syrian people have embraced groups that are much worse than the Assad regime.
     
    #13
    and no i didn't predict this mess but i predicted that Assad will never fall
    To be fair, I never thought Assad would last this long as an individual. Part of me assumed that he will be internally overthrown and the regime will try to present a more moderate face to the western nations.

    Although I never thought too highly of the Syrian people in general, those who oppose Assad have really surprised me with their extremism and sectarianism. I never thought that Nusra, ISIS, and all the other extremist brigades of the FSA would become so "mainstream" and accepted within the Syrian opposition.
     

    My Moria Moon

    Legendary Member
    Staff member
    #14
    What i talked about was a resume of events timeline. tfawwetne bi sectarian w ma ba3ref shou halla2, ma men3od nekhlas :p

    I also think that the shooting on the protestors was not the work of the regime but i have seen the regime doing stupider moves so i wouldn't be surprised if it really was its doing. At the end, we will never know.

    What is important now is how developed this Syrian Civil War is and how un-winnable by any side it is becoming.
    I don't think this war is unwinnable by any side by design, only by choice of the powers orchestrating it from behind, with money, weapons and canon fodder.

    When you start hearing rumors about the risk of dirty bombs, nuclear or chemical, are being prepared for western capitals by ISIS, Nusra or ditto terrorists, know that those powers, and since months, did finally realize and admit how unable they are to control the beast they are now feeding, and that the decision to annihilate those lethal elements is taken. Here's what Wiki tells about dirty bombs

    There have only ever been two cases of caesium-containing bombs, and neither was detonated. Both involved Chechnya. The first attempt of radiological terror was carried out in November 1995 by a group of Chechen separatists, who buried a caesium-137 source wrapped in explosives at the Izmaylovsky Park in Moscow. A Chechen rebel leader alerted the media, the bomb was never activated, and the incident amounted to a mere publicity stunt.[7]

    In December 1998, a second attempt was announced by the Chechen Security Service, who discovered a container filled with radioactive materials attached to an explosive mine. The bomb was hidden near a railway line in the suburban area Argun, ten miles east of the Chechen capital of Grozny. The same Chechen separatist group was suspected to be involved.[8] Despite the increased fear of a dirty bombing attack, it is hard to assess whether the actual risk of such an event has increased significantly.[9] The following discussions on implications, effects and probability of an attack, as well as indications of terror groups planning such, are based mainly on statistics, qualified guessing and a few comparable scenarios.

    When it comes to humans, much can be expected and calculated with, but also a lot remains pretty much unpredictable. It's not far fetched to assume that those who have been supporting the rise and expansion of the jihadi terrorists, including, Turkey, France, England and the USA, one day may get a big bite and taste of the bullshit they helped produce.
     

    Venom

    Legendary Member
    #15
    If someone supported the Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan revolution would be a hypocrite to oppose a Syrian revolution. Bachar is from the same breed of those dictators.

    That was my first post when the Syrian revolution started, probably it was true in concept but what has happened today, I prefer a brutal secular dictator like Qaddafi or Assad on the shit of wahabbi sharia.....RIP Qaddafi, u once had a what so called country , today is nothing but a failed terrorist state.....is Bashar goes today, the remaining minorities in Syria and Lebanon will be wiped by the evil wahabi revolution....
     
    #16
    That was my first post when the Syrian revolution started, probably it was true in concept but what has happened today, I prefer a brutal secular dictator like Qaddafi or Assad on the shit of wahabbi sharia.....RIP Qaddafi, u once had a what so called country , today is nothing but a failed terrorist state.....is Bashar goes today, the remaining minorities in Syria and Lebanon will be wiped by the evil wahabi revolution....
    Let's not forget that Assad and his father weakened the Christians in Lebanon. Sure, he had tools like Hariri, Berri, Jumblatt, Franjieh, etc. but let's not forget that going after and weakening the Christians was a Syrian imperative.

    As a result, the Lebanese Christians need to rely on the Nasrallahs, Rifis, and Hariris of Lebanon to keep them safe. What happens when the Nasrallahs, Rifis, and Hariris of Lebanon decide they have no further use for their respective Christians?

    Let Assad and the opposition murder each other and keep each other at bay. In this time, the Christian leaders can try, for once, to put their differences aside and form a united front. When the Christians are strong, then they won't need to wait for this dictator to stay in power or for this bearded militia leader to protect Christian villages in the Bekaa Valley.
     

    Venom

    Legendary Member
    #17
    Let's not forget that Assad and his father weakened the Christians in Lebanon. Sure, he had tools like Hariri, Berri, Jumblatt, Franjieh, etc. but let's not forget that going after and weakening the Christians was a Syrian imperative.

    As a result, the Lebanese Christians need to rely on the Nasrallahs, Rifis, and Hariris of Lebanon to keep them safe. What happens when the Nasrallahs, Rifis, and Hariris of Lebanon decide they have no further use for their respective Christians?

    Let Assad and the opposition murder each other and keep each other at bay. In this time, the Christian leaders can try, for once, to put their differences aside and form a united front. When the Christians are strong, then they won't need to wait for this dictator to stay in power or for this bearded militia leader to protect Christian villages in the Bekaa Valley.
    Yes the Syrian regime was no angel but they didn't have an issue with Christianity as a belief but fought certain Christian and even Muslim parties for political purposes ......Christians in Syria felt secure under this regime because they practiced their own believes....
    Today it's totally different , we have a weak sectarian gov and an army that is not allowed to defend out the country......Hoping on Assad to stay is not because of admiration but because , as you said, the replacement is much much worse and will have a negative impact on the future of Lebanon and its generations....
     
    #18
    Yes the Syrian regime was no angel but they didn't have an issue with Christianity as a belief but fought certain Christian and even Muslim parties for political purposes ......Christians in Syria felt secure under this regime because they practiced their own believes....
    Today it's totally different , we have a weak sectarian gov and an army that is not allowed to defend out the country......Hoping on Assad to stay is not because of admiration but because , as you said, the replacement is much much worse and will have a negative impact on the future of Lebanon and its generations....
    I agree but my point still stands, the Christians need to get into a position where they can defend themselves without the need for anyone else. Assad might fall tomorrow and if he doesn't, he might turn against the Christians.

    There's nothing that will guarantee that Nasrallah's new found tolerance for Christians won't suddenly dissipate. The same goes for Hariri Junior, although in a different manner.
     

    Venom

    Legendary Member
    #19
    I agree but my point still stands, the Christians need to get into a position where they can defend themselves without the need for anyone else. Assad might fall tomorrow and if he doesn't, he might turn against the Christians.

    There's nothing that will guarantee that Nasrallah's new found tolerance for Christians won't suddenly dissipate. The same goes for Hariri Junior, although in a different manner.
    I wish it's that easy, imagine the number of refugees that will want to escape to Lebanon if the regime falls one day...currently we have 2 million refugees.....


    and with respect to HA and FM, I think the Christians must work on improving their political position today and at least there is one strong party who is supporting you now so we should take advantage of that and not think what they might do in the future (but that's a different story and different subject)
     
    #20
    I predict this will go on just like our civil war did.

    A "secular", sectarian government will be formed, and Syria will be gradually more federalized, while still remaining "Syria".