The American Bear


Syrian Forces Kill 50 In Hama Clashes: Residents


Syrian forces killed at least 50 people, among them 21 members of three families, during clashes with rebels in the central city of Hama, activists and residents said on Thursday.

During the clashes the army entered the neighborhood of Arbaeen and conducted raids, during which they killed members of three families,” resident Abu Ammar told Reuters from the city.

He said among the dead were 10 members of the Kanan family, eight from a family named Okda and three from the Saffaf family.

Another resident said the clashes continued and rebels have appealed to fighters in other parts of the city for help.

Syrian forces besieged the Arbaeen district in the early hours of Thursday, residents said, adding that the army was using mortars and tanks to attack the neighborhood.

We are unable to flee and many families are trapped inside their houses,” a resident said.

(via jayaprada)


From the New York Times:

As my colleagues Anthony Shadid and Steven Lee Myers report, the Syrian government announced on Wednesday that military forces were being withdrawn from the central city of Hama, apparently marking a pause in the offensive there.

A resident in Hama, reached by phone, told The New York Times that the military still had checkpoints in the city and was arresting anyone found with videos of army equipment or vehicles on their cellphones.

Despite that effort to stifle documentation of the crackdown on dissent, a video that appeared to show tanks in the city’s central Aasi Square was posted online by an opposition activist early on Wednesday.

In the clip, which appears to have been recorded surreptitiously, tanks can be seen in the square where tens of thousands of protesters had gathered in the weeks before the crackdown to press their demand for Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, to step down.

“Chilling” really is the only word for this video.

Interzone Uprizings: Report from AJE's live blog on Syria #symap


Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 12:34 - Syria

Syrian tanks occupied the main in central Hama after heavy shelling of the city, residents said. 

“All communications have been cut off. The regime is using the media focus on the Hosni Mubarak trial to finish off Hama,” one of the residents told Reuters by satellite phone from the city, adding that shelling concentrated on al-Hader district, large parts of which were was razed during a 1982 military assault on Hama that killed thousands. 

The square has been the venue of some of the largest demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule during a five month street uprising for political freedoms. 


Deadly Syrian crackdown continues

Syrian forces have killed nearly 142 people, including at least 100 when the army attacked the flashpoint protest city of Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, political activists say.

A witness in Deir ez-Zor told Al Jazeera that government forces launched fresh attacks on the town early on Monday morning.

"Military forces stormed the city from the west side and 25 people are killed and more than 65 injured," the witness said.

"Artillery and anti-aircraft weapons are being used. The situation in the city is very bad, and medical and food supplies are low."

Deir ez-Zor, Syria’s main gas and oil-production hub in the east, has become a rallying point for protests along with Hama.

Sunday’s attack on Hama was one of the “deadliest days” since the protests erupted, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

'Scores dead' as Syrian tanks storm Hama - Al Jazeera English

Syrian forces have killed 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 March 15, 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 US diplomat said it was “full-on warfare”.

“It is one of the deadliest days” since the protests erupted, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

The U.S. response (Obama said he was “appalled”):

“It is resorting to some desperate last ditch attempt, trying to save itself. It is full-on warfare on its own people,” [J. J.] Harder, the press attaché of the US embassy in the Syrian capital, said.

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.”

European response:

Germany threatened to new sanctions on Damascus along with its EU partners, and France warned Syria’s leaders “will have to answer for their deeds,” and Italy called the Hama crackdown “the latest horrible act of violent repression”.

Criticism also came from neighbour Turkey, which said it was “deeply saddened and disappointed … by the current developments on the eve of holy month of Ramadan”.

Large outbreak of violence in the Syrian city of Hama. More details:



  •  every ten minutes, a car comes loaded with five wounded on a hospital-Hourani
  • URGENT: blood donation is now required to Hama for the arrival of many of the wounded to hospital and Badr Al-Hourani
  • A large number of wounded on the ground near the Duarmsadjad Bilal Habashi

Check out Evan’s coverage of the violence in the Syrian city of Hama.

(Source: evanfleischer, via shortformblog)

Syrian tanks 'deploy outside Hama' | Al Jazeera

This is bad news. These deployments have generally preceded oppressive violence and the murder of protestors.

Syrian tanks have deployed at the entrances to the city of Hama, two days after it saw the largest protest against President Bashar al-Assad, according to activists and residents.

Troops backed by 97 tanks and personnel carriers advanced late Saturday on Kfar Rumma village and made arrests in the district of Jabal al-Zawiyah, Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.

“Ninety-seven military vehicles, including tanks and personnel carriers, carrying thousands of soldiers moved Saturday night towards Kfar Rumma,” he said.

“Hundreds of residents emerged from their homes to confront them and  prevent them from advancing, but the troops pursued their deployment to carry out their military operations.”

A resident of Hama said communication networks had been cut off in the city, a tactic that has been used by the military ahead of assaults on cities and towns elsewhere. Security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad were seen in several neighbourhoods, he said.
The move to deploy more force comes a day after [Bashar al-]Assad removed the governor of Hama, Ahmad Khaled Abdulaziz.

Syrian state TV says Hama governor sacked | Al Jazeera

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has removed the governor of Hama, one of the provinces at the heart of the ongoing protests, according to state television.

The sacking of Ahmad Khaled Abdel Aziz was announced on Saturday, a day after more than 400,000 people reportedly turned out in Hama city demanding the ouster of Assad and his government.

People filled the square around the central Clock Tower in what activists said was the biggest demonstration since the uprising began in March.

Referring to Assad’s recent speech at Damascus University in which he characterised the protesters as “germs” that Syria must inoculate itself against, a local activist said: ”Here we are, the germs of Syria,” adding: “But we are big germs in huge numbers.”

He said there was no visible security presence in Hama, only checkpoints at the entrances. “There’s not even traffic police,” he told Al Jazeera.


The sacking by Assad of Ahmed Abdul-Aziz, a former professor of international law at Damascus University, was published on SANA, the state-run news agency, which gave no reason for his dismissal. The governor was appointed in late February to a position often held in Syria for decades.

Following the killing of at least 67 protestors in a single day in Hama one month ago, Assad pledged an investigation, a sign of the regime’s nervousness over attacks on a city still deeply scarred by the killing in 1982 of between 20,000 and 30,000 civilians, ordered by Assad’s father, Hafez, in response to an armed uprising by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

But the sacking of the governor appears to have come in direct response to Friday’s massive protest, which had a carnival-like atmosphere centred around Assi Square, renamed by the mainly young protestors Freedom Square.