BBC News: The Story of the Syrian Conflict. Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets.
33. The religious lines dividing today's Middle East. Religious distinctions are deeply important for many of the problems in today's Middle East, particularly between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Syria and Iraq. This map shows not just that those divisions cross of national borders, but that they're all over the place. This is one of many reasons why these conflicts can be so persistent.