Assad sacks Hama governor after deadly protests

Syrian president gives no reason for dismissing Hama province mayor Abdulaziz day after thousands protest for Assad to step down.

July 2, 2011 12:38
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks, Monday

Assad speaking 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)

BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad has sacked the governor of the province of Hama, the state news agency said on Saturday, a day after tens of thousands called for Assad to step down in the provincial capital.

The agency said Assad issued a decree dismissing Ahmad Khaled Abdulaziz, without giving details. Video footage showed big crowds of protesters in a central square in the city of Hama on Friday calling for an end to Assad's rule.

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Hama was the site of an armed Islamist uprising against Assad's father, Hafez Assad, who sent the army to crush the revolt in 1982. At least 10,000 people were killed and part of the old city was flattened in the military operation.

Activists said Friday's protests were some of the biggest across the country since demonstrations against Assad broke out in the south of the country in March.

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Assad has responded with promises of a national dialogue to discuss political reform, but has also sent the army to crush dissent in the main protest centres.

Days after the protests erupted in the southern city of Deraa on March 18, Assad sacked the regional governor there.

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