A young man who fled from Syria to avoid the intense fighting sits watching film clips on his laptop, showing Syrian forces torturing and beheading rebels. Approximately 30,000 people, 80% women and children, have fled from Syria to Lebanon since the conflict started. Protests against the ruling Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011. Although they were initially peaceful, they were violently repressed by the Syrian army and police. In response to being ordered to shoot unarmed civilians, large numbers of men deserted the army and formed the Free Syrian Army. The protest movement has now turned into an armed uprising with clashes between the regular army and the Free Syrian Army. By mid 2012 the conflict was being described by some within the UN as a civil war.