March 19, 2012

Syria: One Year Later

A look back at the start of the uprising in Syria.

Gary:¬†When 15-year-old Mohammed and several other young boys spray painted “down with the regime” on a school wall one year ago, they had no idea that their actions would spark a revolution.

Mohammed: We saw it during the other Arab revolutions. We just wrote the same.”

Gary: Mohammed says he and seven other boys were arrested and then tortured.

Mohammed: They hung me from the door by my hands for four hours. They stripped me naked and then they began to beat me.

Gary: The boys were released two weeks later. But their arrest and claims of torture ignited huge protests in their hometown of Deraa — protests the government tried to stop with brutal tactics.

Mohammed and his family fled to the country of Jordan, fearing for their lives.

One year later, the government, led by President Bashar al-Assad continues its violent crackdown on demonstrators who are demanding Assad step down.

Syria won’t allow foreign journalists into the country, so it is difficult to confirm information. But the most recent estimates put the death toll at between eight and nine thousand.

And like Mohammed, more than 7,000 people have escaped into neighboring Jordan.

Despite all the deaths and suffering of the past year, Mohammed says he would do the same again.

“A lot of youths have died for the revolution in Syria,” he said, “They were kids just like me. They went to take part in those demonstrations and they never came back.”

Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.


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