Protests in Syria started on 26 January, when one case of self-immolation was reported. Protesters have been calling for political reforms and the reinstatement of civil rights, as well as an end to the state of emergency, which has been in place since 1963. A "day of rage" was set for 4–5 February, but it was uneventful.
On 6 March, the Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa in Southern Syria for writing slogans against the regime. Children were tortured.Daraa is the first city to protest against the Baathist regime, which has been ruling Syria since 1963.
Thousands of protestors gathered in Damascus, Aleppo, al-Hasakah, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hama on 15 March, with recently released politician Suhair Atassi becoming an unofficial spokesperson for the "Syrian revolution". The next day there were reports of approximately 3000 arrests and a few martyrs, but there are no official figures on the number of deaths.On 18 April 2011, approximately 100,000 protesters sat in the central Square of Homs calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. Protests continued through July 2011, the government responding with harsh security clampdowns and military operations in several districts, especially in the north.
On 31 July, Syrian army tanks stormed several cities, including Hama, Deir Ez-Zour, Al-Bukamal, and Herak in Daraa. At least 136 people were killed in the most violent and bloody day since the uprising started.