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24 year old Mohammed Mahrez, 1st Lt in the anti riot police  lying in the military hospital in Damascus, just a few kilometers from fighting in the suburbs. Government forces have suffered many casualties in the last few days. Protests against the ruling Baathist regime erupted in March 2011 and although they were peaceful government forces violently repressed them. In response to being commanded to shoot unarmed civilians large numbers of men deserted the army and formed the Free Syrian Army and an armed uprising began with major clashes taking place in early 2012.