Syrian troops yesterday launched an offensive against protesters across the nation, resulting in around a hundred deaths in the city of Hama and several dozen more in other parts of the country. The most severe violence took place in Hama, where government troops and tanks, which had previously remained outside of the city for around a month, moved into the city center beginning at dawn. The crackdown left around a hundred people dead in the city, though exact numbers were unclear.
According to the government, the action in Hama was taken in response to the construction of barricades by protesters, though a US embassy official in Damascus denied the claim. A statement on state news agency SANA said that protesters had “set police stations on fire, vandalised public and private properties, set roadblocks and barricades and burned tyres at the entrance of Hama” and that “Army units are removing the barricades and roadblocks set by the armed groups at the entrance of the city.”
Outside of Hama, several dozen more people died in other incidents around the country, leading to reports of a total death toll of 136 people, according to The Telegraph. In addition to civilian deaths, the government said that five military personnel had been killed.
After the events of yesterday, United States president Barack Obama said that he condemned the government’s actions, as did officials from the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Obama also said that the US “will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government.