29 years after the notorious Hama Massacre, in 03/1982, Syrian forces have killed, on Sunday 07/31/2011, nearly 142 people, including at least 100 when the army stormed the flashpoint protest city of Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, activists have said.
Rights groups said it was one of deadliest days in Syria since demonstrators first took to the streets on 03/15/2011, demanding democratic reforms and the downfall of the government.
As reports of the brutal crackdown on Hama unfurled, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Turkey condemned the violence, while a USA diplomat said it was "full-on warfare".
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".
Activists also reported deaths in Deir ez-Zor, Syria's main gas- and oil-production hub in the east, which has become a rallying point for protests along with Hama. At least 19 people were killed in Deir ez-Zor, six in Herak in the south, and one in Al-Bukamal in the east, said Qorabi, adding most of those shot in Deir ez-Zor were "hit in the head and the neck" by snipers.
The Syrian Revolution 2011, an internet group that has been a driving force behind the protests, urged demonstrators to gather nationwide after Ramadan "taraweeh" evening prayers later on Sunday "for retaliation protests". "Syria is bleeding" it said. Western powers condemned the violence amid warnings from Berlin and Paris of fresh sanctions against the government of President Bashar Assad (see - SYRIAN 2011 UNREST).
US President Barack Obama said Sunday he was "appalled by the Syrian government's use of violence and brutality against its own people". In a statement, Obama saluted demonstrators who have taken to the streets as "courageous" and said Syria "will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward".
Unlike in Egypt, where President Barack Obama called the ousted President and USA long time ally Hosni Mubarak, in 02/2011, to quit “now” and unlike in Libya where USA army is engaged in military operations, under the excuse of “protecting civilian lives” alongside the rebels against Muamar Gaddafi’s regime (see - The Libyan-Campaign), the USA president refrained from calling president Bashar Assad to resign or from suggesting material support to the Syrian opposition.
The Syrian authorities have consistently accused "armed gangs" and fundamentalist Salafist Muslims of stirring the unrest and aiming to sow chaos in the Sunni-majority country. Asked if he accepted the Syrian government's contention that its forces were up against armed gangs, Harder said: "The Syrian government is completely delusional. They are making up fanciful stories that no one believes."
It seems the main problem of the Syrian opposition is the unexplained ambiguousness of Europe, the international community and especially USA toward the Syrian crisis (see - Ambiguous-US).
At least 1,583 civilians and 369 members of the army and security forces have been killed since mid-March in Syria, according to the observatory.
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