DERAA - Al-Balad, a neighborhood in the city's historic district, has become the ghetto of death. Since the end of March, it's been on permanent lockdown, surrounded by the Syrian army. From rooftops and balconies, soldiers shoot those who try to get in or out of the neighborhood. Deraa is the hotbed of the Syrian uprising, and Al-Balad its core. It was in this poor neighborhood that the "Syrian spring" came to life on March 16. People rose out of indignation and anger after the military police tortured a dozen teenagers caught painting graffiti imitating the Egyptian revolution and reading: "The people want the regime to fall."
Al-Balad went up in flames and the rest of the city followed. In the following weeks, the uprising spread north to Latakia, Banias, Homs, Hama... and even to the suburbs of Damascus. To crack down on a revolt that was gaining ground, Bashar Al-Assad's regime wanted to show the country what would happen to those who would resist him. As a result, Al-Balad is suffering under a merciless siege.