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Syria: Hundreds gather in Daraa to celebrate anniversary of uprising

Daraa, currently under Assad control, was the centre of major demonstrations in the early days of the uprising in March 2011
Still from video footage shared on social media (Twitter)

Hundreds reportedly gathered in the Syrian city of Daraa on Thursday to mark the tenth anniversary of the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in the country, which later devolved into a devastating war.

Demonstrators in the main city chanted slogans against the government of President Bashar al-Assad and flew the three-starred flag of the Syrian opposition.

Video footage appeared to show protesters assembled near the Omari Mosque in the old city.

Daraa is often cited as the genesis for the 2011 protests.

Though 15 March is usually referred to as the date of the initial anti-Assad protests, the street demonstrations that began in Daraa on 18 March marked an escalation of protests into a movement viewed as properly threatening for the government.

The harsh government crackdown on protesters would see the situation in Syria descend into an armed conflict which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and displaced millions both inside and outside the country.

In 2018, after years of opposition rule, Russian-backed government fighters recaptured Daraa in a major symbolic blow to the rebels.

There have been intermittment attacks since the region came under government control.

A spate of bombings and assassinations has targeted government forces, former opposition figures and civilians, most of which have remained unclaimed.

On Tuesday, a military convoy came under an ambush in Daraa, in which 21 Syrian soldiers were killed, forcing the Syrian army to send reinforcement to the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.