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Mouawiyah Syasneh was just 14 when he sprayed anti government slogans on his school wall in Deraa, Syria. He never could have imagined that such a minor, youthful act of defiance would spark a full-blown civil war, that has claimed over half a million lives and changed Syria forever.

The Boy Who Started the Syrian War. It wasn't ISIL, or al-Nusra, or even terrorism. It was an act of defiance, of youthful rebelliousness thtled to an uprising which has seen this country torn to shreds. Of course it wasn't the fault of this 14 year old and his three friends who joined him this moment of adolecent disobedicance - a prank which would have enormous consequences beyond their understanding. But when they were arrested by the police and tortured in a most horrendous way, a line was crossed form which there would be no turning back. 

When their parents and families arrived at the police station to plead for their freedom, they were told: "Forget these children. Go home to your wives and make some more. If you can't manage, send us your wives and we'll do it for you."

Anger rose. The fuse had been lit and following random killings of demonstrators, armed resistance became inevitable. The boys' home city has been ravaged by street fighting, shelling and barrel bombing. The scars may never heal.

And now, Mouawiya is a young man, fighting on the frontline for the Free Syrian Army. He admits that had he known what the consequences of his actions would be, he would never have taunted the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. But it’s too late now.

The Boy Who Started the Syrian War offers a glimpse into life in Deraa; we meet the Syrians who are trying to lead normal lives amid the chaos, as well as those who have taken up arms against Assad’s forces.

You can watch the full film here.

As producer, Jamie Doran discussed, it has been an enormous privilege for Clover to be able to remind and inform a massive global audience of the true origins of the Syrian war. So many have suffred greaty and sacrificed so much for a revolution which, by any calculation, is and will remain incomplete, no matter what the outcome of negotiations. For those directly involved, the film has provided a platform for reflection. 

Read the full interview here.