Entries in Hama (8)


Syrian Activists: Massacre Leaves at Least 200 Dead in Tremseh

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Opposition activists in Syria are reporting that at least 200 people were killed in a massacre in the village of Tremseh, in Hama, according to the BBC.

They quoted residents as saying that helicopter gunships and tanks attacked the village, and said that a pro-government militia group carried out execution-style killings. State media blamed the violence on terrorist groups and said the attacks were committed to increase friction before the U.N. Security Council meeting on the observer mission in Syria.

If the massacre is confirmed, the attack would be one of the deadliest in Syria since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Security Forces Open Fire on Syrian Civilians as Protests Escalate

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HAMA, Syria) -- At least 10 protesters have reportedly been killed in Syria, as security forces opened fire on civilians. Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country Friday, calling for President Bashar al-Assad to leave office.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Hama, a city of 700,000 in central Syria, since the army launched its latest crackdown on August 1. Telecommunications, electricity and water supply were cut and there were reports of shortages in food supply as well as medical equipment.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the violence and called for restraint.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syrian Crackdown Kills Hundreds in Hama

Members of a pro-Islamic human rights group hold up a sign which reads "We remember Hama", during a demonstration to protest Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his regime, outside the Syrian Embassy in Ankara, on August 1, 2011. ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images(HAMA, Syria) -- "I am very worried about my nieces," said Mona, a merchant's wife from the restive Syrian city of Hama. "Soldiers have been trying to attack homes to rape the women, but thank God our men have so far been able to keep them at bay."

More than 200 civilians have been killed in Hama, a city of 700,000 in central Syria, since the army launched its latest crackdown on August 1. Telecommunications, electricity and water supply have been cut for the past 48 hours and there are reports of shortages in basic foodstuffs as well as medical equipment.

As army tanks took over the city's central square on Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council condemned the violence and called for restraint.

In 1982, Syrian security forces killed at least 20,000 civilians in Hama as they crushed a rebellion.

The Syrian government, through the official news agency SANA and state television, has maintained that the army is protecting civilians from "armed terrorist gangs" that have infiltrated peaceful towns. But local residents told ABC News that mosques are under attack and the army is killing unarmed civilians.

Mona, who chose not to use her real name for fear of retaliation, said her nephews, five men between the ages of 20 and 34, have been braving heavy gunfire and mortar rounds since Monday as they try to distribute food to those most in need and drive the wounded in their pick-up truck to hospitals. She said they have also been trying to remove the dead from the streets and bury them in gardens.

"As my nephews were out there, bullets peppered everything in sight, bullets rained down. The army had spotted them and was shooting to kill them," she told ABC News.

With tanks positioned in and around the city, cemeteries, located on the outskirts of the city, have become impossible to access. According to Muslim law, bodies should be buried at the first prayer following their death, less than 24 hours later.

An activist in Hama, Sami, told ABC News on Monday that "snipers are shooting us. We can't go to the cemetery. Martyrs are being buried in the garden, not in the cemetery, we can't access the cemetery."

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of ABC News on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford called the Syrian regime's actions "abhorrent."

"The violence that the Syrian government is inflicting on Syrian protesters, from our point of view, is grotesque," said Ford. "The Syrian government does not tell the truth. They said there were armed gangs in Hama. Well, the only weapon I saw was a slingshot."

Ford said the U.S. government would "try to ratchet up the pressure" on the Syrian government, and relay "a message of support" to the Syrian people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐


Treasury Department Slaps New Sanctions on Syria

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. (US State Dept)(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Syria Thursday, part of an effort to ratchet up the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to allow reforms and halt a brutal crackdown on protesters seeking his ouster.

The Treasury Department sanctioned Muhammad Hamsho, a member of the Syrian parliament and prominent businessman, and his company, the Hamsho International Group, for their role in supporting the Assad regime.

"Muhammad Hamsho earned his fortune through his connections to regime insiders, and during the current unrest, he has cast his lot with Bashar al-Asad, Mahir al-Asad and others responsible for the Syrian government's violence and intimidation against the Syrian people," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "The sanctions we are applying today to Hamsho and his company are the direct consequence of his actions."

According to the Treasury Department, Hamsho has business interests in many sectors of the Syrian economy and has served as a frontman for Assad and his brother.

In recent months the United States has sanctioned over two dozen Syrian officials, including Assad himself, for their roles in the violence.

This latest round of sanctions comes as Syrian troops poured into the restive city of Hama this week, with reports of dozens killed. On Thursday, human rights activists claim that more than 100 people have been killed in Hama in just the past 24 hours, despite Assad's promise hours earlier that he would allow reforms, including allowing opposition parties to operate.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner dismissed the reforms, saying they "ring hollow" amid the continued violence.

The escalated violence this week spurred a condemnation from United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, overcoming longstanding Russian opposition to what it saw as meddling in Syria's internal affairs.

On Monday, the European Union levied its own round of sanctions on Syria. Following Wednesday's Security Council action, the British permanent representative to the United Nations suggested the world body could consider bolder steps including sanctions when it meets next week, if the violence continues.

The Obama administration is also drafting tougher sanctions on Syria which would hit its oil and gas sector, a lucrative source of funding for the regime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syrian Troops Crackdown on Eve of Ramadan

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HAMA, Syria) -- Dozens have been killed in the Syrian military's latest attack on cities across the country.

Syrian troops entered the country's fourth-largest city, Hama, early Sunday, a western diplomat told ABC News. The tanks stormed through protester checkpoints and fired at random.

The assaults come on the eve of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, when protests are expected to escalate.

President Obama condemned the violence, pledging "to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Violent Protests Continue in Syria under Western Pressure to Reform

Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images(BEIRUT, Lebanon) -- At least 12 people were killed in Syria mid-afternoon Friday in massive anti-government protests in defiance of increased Western pressure for the regime to radically reform.

The protests followed the week's provocative visits by U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Ford and French envoy Eric Chavallier to the city of Hama enraged Syrian authorities and provoked testy exchanges between Western and Syrian officials.

The protests appear to have gained momentum, with unprecedented numbers in Hama, in central Syria, and Deir al-Zour, in the northeast, according to reports.

The demonstrations have yet to make decisive inroads into Damascus and Aleppo--the country’s two largest cities and the focus of the government’s attention.

The four-month long protests have resulted in the death of 1,431 people, despite activists’ contention that their protests remain peaceful.

The number of causalities is expected to rise, despite a purported dialogue between President Bashar Assad deputies and some regime critics that finished days ago, according to human rights activists.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Syrian President Gives Marching Orders to Hama Governor

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Following massive anti-government protests in the city of Hama on Friday, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has fired the city’s governor.

According to state news agency, SANA, President al-Assad on Saturday discharged Dr. Ahmad Khaled Abdul-Aziz of his duties as governor of Hama.

Saturday’s sacking marks the third time the president has fired a governor in the last three months, according to SANA, with the governors of Daraa and Homs also being shown the door recently.

Tens of thousands people flooded Syrian streets on Friday, calling for President al-Assad to step down. In addition to demonstrators hitting the streets of Hama, anti-government protests were also staged in Damascus, the nation's capital city, as well as in other cities along border regions.

Human rights groups estimate around 1,700 people have been killed in protests over the last three months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


At Least 35 Dead, 150 Injured By Syrian Security at Protest

(HAMA, Syria) -- At least 35 people were killed and another 150 injured Friday in the city of Hama, Syria.

Dr. Taha Mustafa said that the city hospital is not able to handle so many casualties.  He called for citizens to donate blood due to the alarming number of injuries.  

Mustafa said that many of the injured and casualties are young men who were participating in a peaceful demonstration when Syrian security forces opened fire on the thousands of people in the area.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio