4. So did everyone else. Takes two to tango, and to start a civil war.
Assad's overreaction was not only predictable, it was essential. It took several tries at "The Day of Rage", and several weeks before things got bloody in Syria. The "Arab Spring" would not have really take off until April 8 when, in Daraa, snipers killed police and a Sunni crowd exiting Friday Prayers burned the Ba'ath Party headquarters.
The fighting with military defectors was a battle that developed within the context of armed uprising in Daraa. The events of April 8 that led to the arrival two weeks later of large number of government troops are key to understanding how the violence was sparked and why the use of force by the regime escalated. There were three key actions that sparked the crackdown: snipers, the burning of the Ba'ath Party Headquarters by a large, armed mob, and the killing of 19 policemen and security personnel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Syrian_civil_war_%28January%E2%80%93April_2011%29
8 April – "Friday of Resistance"
Unknown Gunmen Filmed at Syria Demo
(YouTube: Associated Press.)
8 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
Protests in Duma near Damascus
On the third Friday called "Friday of Resistance", thousands of protesters took to streets in Daraa, Latakia, Tartus, Edlib, Baniyas, Qamishli, Homs and the Damascus suburb of Harasta, in the largest protest yet.
27 anti-government protesters were killed in Daraa and many other were wounded when security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters. The clashes started when thousands of prayers staged rallies following the Friday prayers. In a telephone call one of the activists told the news agencies that demonstrators, starting from three mosques, have marched to the city's main court where they were confronted by security forces dressed in civilian clothing. A witness told Reuters he saw "snipers on roofs." It was also reported that another resident has seen "pools of blood and three bodies" in the Mahatta area of Daraa. The protesters have also smashed a stone statue of Basil al-Assad, the brother of the current President of the country, and set fire to a Ba'ath Party outpost. The state-run Syrian Television reported that 19 police officers and members of the security forces have been killed in Daraa.