Syria protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AMMAN - Syrian forces and gunmen loyal to President Bashar Assad shot dead at least six civilians in the second day of raids on the city of Hama on Tuesday to crush protests against his rule, residents and activists said.
They said the dead included two brothers, Baha and Khaled al-Nahar, who were killed at a roundabout in the city, with the attacks focusing on the al-Souk area and al-Hader district north of the Orontes river, which divides the city of 650,000 people.
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Tanks deployed in Hama on Sunday but later pulled back, residents said, two days after the city witnessed the largest protest against the 11-year rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad since an uprising demanding political freedoms and Assad's removal began nearly four months ago.
The security forces' presence had lessened in Hama since they killed at least 60 protesters in the city a month ago in one of the bloodiest days of the uprising.
Demonstrations have swelled in numbers since then, witnesses have said,
with at least 150,000 people assembling at a square on Friday in a rally
demanding the removal of Assad, whose father, the late Hafez Assad sent
troops to Hama in 1982 to crush an armed Islamist uprising.
That attack killed many thousands, and possibly up to 30,000, making the
city synonymous with the bloodiest event in Syria's history since the
Western colonial powers carved the country out the remnants of the
Ottoman empire in 1920.