Arrests focused on two groups: political activists, and men and boys from the towns that the Syrian Army would start to besiege in April. Many detainees were cramped in tight rooms and were given limited resources, and some were beaten, electrically jolted, or debilitated.At least 27 torture centers run by Syrian intelligence agencies were revealed by Human Rights Watch on 3 July 2012.The rebel Free Syrian Army was created on July 29, 2011, marking the transition into armed insurgency.
Syria, until March 2011, for decades had remained superficially tranquil, largely due to fear among the people of the secret police arresting critical citizens.
Minor protests calling for government reforms began in January, and continued into March.
At least 20 protesters were reportedly killed by security forces.
Protests subsequently spread to other Syrian cities, including Homs, Hama, Baniyas, Jasim, Aleppo, Damascus and Latakia. Even before the uprising began, the Syrian government had made numerous arrests of political dissidents and human rights campaigners, many of whom were labeled "terrorists" by the Assad government.
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