BEIRUT - Heavy clashes erupted for the first time in months in Syria's central city of Hama on Thursday as rebels tried to relieve pressure on comrades under attack from Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces elsewhere, activists said.
They said at least seven people were killed and dozens wounded when fighting broke out at 4 a.m. in Hama, a historic symbol of dissent against four decades of Assad family rule. Most of the reported casualties were civilian, they said.
Assad's father, who ruled Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000, crushed an armed Islamist revolt in Hama in 1982, killing many thousands of people and razing parts of the city.
Video uploaded by activists showed heavy machine-gun and rocket fire amid cries of "God is great" from rebel fighters in Hama. Activists said it was the first time in six months that insurgents had engaged the army there with such ferocity.