Hama Massacre: At Least 140 Killed in Syrian Tank Offensive

Toll Expected to Rise as Tanks Fire Randomly Into Streets

by Jason Ditz, July 31, 2011

The central Syrian city of Hama has been the site of some of the largest anti-regime protests over the past several months and is now also the site of the largest massacre, as tanks attacked the city, killing at least 140 protesters and wounding scores of others.

Incredibly, the slaughter went entirely unreported by Syria’s state media, with the only report on Hama claiming six members of security forces were slain by the “armed groups” roaming the streets attacking government buildings.

The attacks come on the eve of the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which oppsition figures have vowed to use for nightly protests against the regime. Some speculated today’s attack was an effort to discourage future rallies.

But history certainly isn’t on their side in this respect. The protest movement started five months ago now, with only a few hundred people in Daraa. Violent crackdowns brought a few hundred to a few thousand, and more crackdowns eventually swelled their numbers to upwards of a million demonstrators. Violence clearly isn’t placating the crowds, but it seems to be all the regime has to rely on.

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