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SYRIA: “ATTACK ON CIVILIANS” August 2, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.
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The Syrian Government has attacked various population centres across the country, in particular Hama.

Bassem Mroue in The Independent reports:

Sunday was one of the bloodiest days since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian rule began in mid-March. Six Syrian rights groups said in a joint statement that 74 people were killed throughout the country, 55 of them from Hama and neighbouring villages.

. . .”Residents are committed to resistance through peaceful means,” Hama-based activist Omar Hamawi told The Associated Press by telephone today. The city’s streets are full of barriers as well as thousands of men “who are ready to defend the city with stones,” he said. “People will not surrender this time. We will not allow a repetition of what happened in 1982,” he said.

Hamawi said residents in villages and towns around Hama have blocked roads and highways leading to the city in order to prevent the military from bringing supplies. He added that dozens of checkpoints were set up and activists have blocked the highway linking the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest, with the capital Damascus.

The escalating government crackdown appears aimed at preventing the protests from swelling during Ramadan. Muslims throng mosques during Ramadan for special nighttime prayers after breaking their daily dawn-to-dusk fast. The gatherings could trigger intense protests throughout the predominantly Sunni country and activists say authorities are trying to prevent that.

The worst carnage on Sunday was in Hama, the scene of a 1982 massacre by Assad’s late father and predecessor and a city with a history of defiance against 40 years of Assad family rule. Hospitals there were overwhelmed with casualties, suggesting the death toll could rise sharply, witnesses said.

It appeared the regime was making an example of Hama, a religiously conservative city of about 800,000 people some 130 miles north of the capital, Damascus. The city largely has fallen out of government control since June as residents turned on the regime and blockaded the streets against encroaching tanks.

Troops backed by tanks renewed shelling of Hama for a second day in an attempt to subdue the city.

Given now there is a precedent, the Security Council of the United Nations has not so far voted on creating a no-fly zone and elicited Nato’s assistance in launching ongoing aerial bombing.

On the Live Syria Blog at Al Jazeera it is reported:

Death tolls provided by the observatory and other human rights groups showed at least 142 people were killed across Syria on Sunday, with at least 100 of them falling in Hama.

“The number of those wounded is huge and hospitals cannot cope, particularly because we lack the adequate equipment,” Abdel Rahman quoted a Hama hospital source as saying.

He said the crackdown on Hama came after more than 500,000 people rallied in the city on Friday following Muslim prayers during which a cleric told the congregation “the regime must go”.

A resident from Deir ez-Zor said fresh attacks were launched on Monday morning

Western powers condemned the violence amid warnings from Berlin and Paris of fresh sanctions against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, called for an end to the violence and reminded Syrian authorities that “they are accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by them against the civilian population”.

The moral crusade against Syria is not of the same order as that in Libya. I wonder why that could be?

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