While protests officially first erupted in Darra- the town that’s spawned the Syrian Revolution, trouble actually first started 26th January 2011 in Al-Raqqah, home to many Kurds in Syria. In Al-Hasakah, a predominantly Kurdish village, a man set himself a-light and died. The frustration started here , in a community of citizens upward of 150,000, who serve in the army but have til now been denied Syrian nationality.
The Syrian revolution has been a slow starter , working its way in fits and starts. This Kurdish spark was a false start and the more recognizable ignition was in Darra.
Major protests kicked off in the southern city of Deraa have since spread across the country. Another false start , a "Day of Rage" that failed to materialize on 4-5th February, calling for removal of al-Assad and a mass demonstration, led instead to the Kingdom of Silence tag. Meantime protests trickled along elsewhere, small in size and outside of Syria.
Why such a slow and, possibly deadly starter? It took time for predictions such as Ribal Al-Assad’s, an enemy cousin of President al-Assad’s, for Syria to be the next domino to come true. Strict security measures, the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, and fear of potential sectarian violence in the aftermath of a government ouster Like Iraq have helped keep people cautious, repressed and shying away from uprising.
Varying degrees of protest in ripples across the country have been reported in Ar-Raqqah , Daraa, Latakia, Tartus, Edlib, Baniyas, Qamishli, Homs, Harasta, Deir ez-Zor, Barzeh in Damascus and still spreading. There are still not the massive scale of protests across the country. Echo or satellite protests have erupted but not in the consolidated manner of Libya, Egypt and Yemen. People are demanding governmental reform and the dismissal of leader Bashar al-Assad.
Coverage and quality footage is harder to come by given Syria's strength in security and track record of suppressing free media (eg Hamma massacre not documented). This time round all material that is exposed or uncovered straight away through phone cameras and spread through Social Media is quite unprecedented.