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Smoke rises over the Sakba district of Damascus where gunfire and explosions were heard a day after a large protest against the regime was held at a funeral for one of the victims of the security forces. 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.