Feb. 3 - Syria's Zabadani women break social taboos in their conservative community by joining the protest movement. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The women behind Syria's uprising. Women in the Syrian town of Zabadani are actively taking part in the protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad -- overcoming not just the security crackdown, but also social restrictions in the conservative Muslim community. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN FEMALE ACTIVIST ''When we first came out to protest, we were just a handful of women, not more. And we were heavily criticised by the people, especially men, and many women as well criticised us -- the same women who are now joining us in the protests,'' Amatuer video obtained by Reuters shows women gathering to work and share stories. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN FEMALE ACTIVIST ''Our fathers did not choose and we in turn did not choose our rulers but it is our right to struggle so that our children have the right to choose who rules them. This was our principle from the beginning, this is why we went out in the protests, so our children have the chance for something better than what we had,'' They have also taken to the streets. The uprising in Syria began in March and thousands of people have been killed in a crackdown by security forces. The government says it is fighting ''armed gangs'' and ''terrorists.'' Because Zabadani has managed to fend off a direct military crackdown, many protesters have declared the town close to the capital Damascus as ''free''. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.