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Siege of Baniyas
Part of the Civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war
Location Baniyas, Syria
Objective Suppress protests
Date 7–14 May 2011
(1 week)
Executed by Syria Syrian Army
Outcome Protests suppressed
Casualties 10 protestors killed,[3]
400 arrested[4]

1-6 soldiers killed[5]

On 7 May 2011, during the Civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war, the Syrian military launched an operation in the Syrian city of Baniyas. The government said it was targeting terrorist groups, while the Syrian opposition called it a crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. The operation lasted until 14 May 2011.


On 15 March 2011, a protest movement against the Syrian government began to escalate, as simultaneous demonstrations took place in major cities across Syria.[6] On 18 March, the most serious unrest to take place in Syria for decades erupted.[7] After online calls for a "Friday of Dignity" (Arabic language: جمعة الكرامة‎), after Friday prayers, thousands of protesters demanding an end to alleged government corruption took to the streets of cities across Syria.[8] The protesters were met with violent opposition by state security forces. The protesters chanted "God, Syria, Freedom" and anti-corruption slogans.[9]

On 9 April, unknown gunmen shot at a military bus traveling through Baniyas killing nine soldiers. On 10 April, protests were held in Baniyas in which violent clashes erupted between the security forces and protesters. Between three and six were reportedly shot dead, while one police officer was reportedly killed by unknown gunmen.[10]

On 14 April, snipers killed a Syrian Army soldier in Baniyas.[11]

The operation

On 7 May, following the successful operation against protestors in Daraa, Syrian Army tanks rolled into Baniyas from three directions. They advanced into Sunni districts, which had been under the control of demonstrators since loyalist forces, known as Shabeeha, fired at opposition members on 10 April. Heavy gunfire was reported as the operation started.[12]

The next day, some 30 tanks were seen patrolling the city, with some of them positioned in the city center. Syrian Navy boats were also reportedly holding positions near the city's coastline. Special forces units allegedly entered the northern part of the city, from where heavy gunfire was heard.[13]

On 14 May, the military started to pull out of the city, after their operation ended.[14]


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hrw
  2. "In unending turmoil, Syria's Assad turns to family". The Guardian. 
  3. SYRIA: At least 10 killed, 250 detained in Baniyas
  4. Syrian forces use soccer stadiums as prisons, human rights groups say
  5. Syrian forces arrest dozens of protesters in Baniyas, Homs
  6. "BBC News – Middle East unrest: Syria arrests Damascus protesters". BBC Online. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  7. Aljazeera. "Clashes erupt at protests in Syria". Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  8. "Violence flares at Syrian protest". Youtube/Al Jazeera. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  9. "Middle East unrest: Two killed at protest in Syria". BBC News. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  10. "Syria unrest: Shooting erupts in seaport of Baniyas". BBC News. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  11. Snipers kill soldier in Baniyas - Syrian state news agency
  12. Syrian army storms Banias Sunni districts: rights source
  13. Syrian tanks enter 'protest hub' Baniyas
  14. "Syria army 'pulls back' from Baniyas and Deraa". BBC News. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 

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