Civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War

Civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War
Part of Syrian Civil War and the Arab Spring
Huge demonstration in Homs against Al Assad regime.jpg
Demonstration in Homs against the Syrian Government (18 April 2011).
Date15 March 2011 (2011-03-15) – 28 July 2011 (2011-07-28)
(136 days, some major protests continued into August)
Caused by
  • Resignation of Bashar al-Assad[2][3]
  • Democratic reforms[4]
  • Regime change[5]
  • Expanded civil rights[6]
  • Abolition of the Supreme State Security Court
  • Lifting of the emergency law[7]
  • Equal rights for Kurds
StatusPeaceful protests ended and deteriorated into an armed rebellion and later full-scale civil war
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Death(s)1,800[13]-2,154[14] civilians and 406[15]-500[16] security forces killed (by 17 August)
Total: 2,206–2,654
InjuriesThousands of protesters[10]
1,300[11]-1,857[12] security forces
Arrested12,617 (by 28 July)[17]
a During the civil uprising in the first half of 2011, the Syrian opposition used the same flag of Syria as the Syrian government.[18][19]

The civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War, or as it was sometimes called by the media the Syrian Revolution of Dignity,[20] was an early stage of protests – with subsequent violent reaction by the Syrian Arab Republic – lasting from March to 28 July 2011. The uprising, initially demanding democratic reforms, evolved from initially minor protests, beginning as early as January 2011 and transformed into massive protests in March.

The uprising was marked by massive anti-government opposition demonstrations against the Ba'athist government led by Bashar al-Assad, meeting with police and military violence, massive arrests and brutal crackdown, resulting in hundreds of casualties and thousands of wounded.

Despite Bashar al-Assad's attempts to stop the protests with massive crackdown and use of censorship on one hand and concessions on the other, by the end of April, it became clear the situation was getting out of his control and his government deployed numerous troops on the ground.

The civil uprising phase created the platform for emergence of militant opposition movements and massive defections from the Syrian Army, which gradually transformed the conflict from a civil uprising to an armed rebellion, and later a full-scale civil war. The rebel Free Syrian Army was created on 29 July 2011, marking the transition into armed insurgency.


Before the uprising in Syria began in mid-March 2011, protests were relatively modest, considering the wave of unrest that was spreading across the Arab world. Syria, until March 2011, for decades had remained superficially tranquil, largely due to fear among the people of the secret police arresting critical citizens.[21]

Factors contributing to social unrest in Syria include socioeconomic stressors dating back to conflicts in Iraq as well as the most intense drought ever recorded in the region.[22]

Minor protests calling for government reforms began in January, and continued into March. Unrelenting protests were occurring in Cairo against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and in Syria on 3 February via the websites Facebook and Twitter, a "Day of Rage" was called for by activists against the government of Bashar al-Assad, to be held on Friday, 4 February.[23] This did not result in protests. Yet it is said that on the night of Mubarak's 11 February downfall,[24] the graffiti was seen under a Damascus bridge, "Now it's your turn, Doctor"– in reference to President al-Assad, an eye doctor by training.[25]