The Syrian military stormed the central city of Hama, on July 31, killing at least 45 people, according to activists. Hama is one of several cities, including suburbs of the capital Damascus, across the country, to be raided by the army, in this barbaric manner, leaving an estimated 140 civilians dead on Sunday.
The Local Coordination Committee, which organizes and monitors anti-government protests in Syria, says many civilians are heavily wounded and the death toll is likely to rise.
Army troops in tanks storm into the city before daybreak, in a coordinated assault. Some civilians responded by shouting "God is great!” throwing firebombs, stones and sticks at the tanks. Residence reported that the barrage of shelling and gunfire left bodies scattered in the streets, leaving hospitals overwhelmed with casualties.
In an amateur video, released by the SHAMS News Network, which is a loosely organized anti-President Bashar Assad group, gunfire and explosions can clearly be heard, with smoke and fire billowing from apartment blocks. In the video, security forces were setting fire to civilian vehicles if they tried to flee the violence. The footage also shows a group of people shouting: "We will not kneel except before God."
An estimated 1,600 civilians have been massacred by the armed forces over the course of the largely peaceful demonstrations, since the uprising began over four months ago. Hama, about 130 miles north of Damascus, became one of the main sites of protests.