Syrian Army Storms Cities on Ramadan Eve, at Least 136 Dead
Bashar al-Assad welcomes Ramadan was more mass murder.
July 31 (Bloomberg) — Syrian soldiers stormed Hama and other flash points of unrest, leaving at least 136 dead, an activist said, as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces sought to reassert control on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, when protests are likely to intensify.
Tanks shelled Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city, where at least 109 people were killed today, said Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Damascus-based Arab Organization for Human Rights.
Three people died near the city of Daraa, and fighting in other areas raised the toll to 136, Merhi said. At least 10 people were killed in Deir Al Zour, said Abdul-Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian Human Rights League. It was one of the deadliest bouts of violence since the uprising against Assad began in March.
The regime is “very worried that as soon as Ramadan begins there will be daily, nightly protests against it, and this is an attempt by hard-liners to give a decisive show of force,” Chris Phillips, a London-based analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a telephone interview. “Given what has happened over the past five months, it is highly unlikely this will work.”
Dennis Kucinich was unavailable for comment.