Syrians resist advancing army in Hama; 3 killed
Syrian troops fired Tuesday on residents who set up makeshift roadblocks to prevent the advance of tanks ringing the city of Hama, which has become a flashpoint of the uprising against autocratic President Bashar Assad, activists said. At least three people were killed, they said.
Residents burned tires, erected sandbarriers and set up other obstacles to block the military, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the London-based director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“There is an open civil defiance in Hama. There is a kind of determination not to submit to any tanks or military vehicles,” Abdul-Rahman said, citing accounts from doctors and witnesses at the scene.
On Monday, Syrian forces sealed off Hama and blocked the roads leading in, an apparent attempt to retake the city one month after security forces withdrew from it. About 300,000 people protested against the regime in Hama last week, a sign the city was spiraling out of government control.
Hama, which has a history of militancy against the Assad regime, was targeted by Assad’s father and predecessor in a major government crackdown nearly three decades ago. In 1982, the late Hafez Assad ordered his troops to crush a rebellion by Sunni fundamentalists, killing between 10,000 and 25,000 people, rights groups say.