BEIRUT - Syrian troops closed public squares in Hama on Thursday after residents
poured red paint symbolizing blood on the ground to mark the 30th anniversary of
the massacre President Bashar Assad's father carried out during an uprising
against his rule.
The act of defiance came as Russia warned it would veto
any UN resolution on Syria it finds unacceptable, making clear it wanted to
prevent Libyan-style intervention over Assad's violent crackdown on 11 months of
mass protests and armed insurrection.
Recent political violence in Syria has killed at least
5,000 people, and activists say Assad's forces have stepped up operations around
the country after appearing to crush rebels who brought the fight to the
outskirts of the capital, Damascus.