45 More Slain in Hama: Four Day Massacre Total Over 200

Tanks Occupy Center of Key City as Violence Continues

Violence in the key Syrian city of Hama continued apace on Wednesday, with another 45 civilian protesters slain as military forces captured the town center, and the four day toll of the massacres in the city exceeded 200.

Reports from protesters said that the vast majority of those slain today were killed by machine gun fire, which has been reported firing randomly into crowds. Five of those killed today, however, apparently were killed while trying to flee the city.

Hama has been the site of some of the largest protests against the Assad regime, with hundreds of thousands marching in the city on some days. The site of those protests was the Orontes Square, which the military seized today.

Though the Assad government has repeatedly resorted to killings in the face of these protests, it has been extremely counterproductive so far, with the largest marches coming in response to violent crackdowns. With the Hama massacres among the most violent yet, what follows may be much, much bigger.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.