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Syrian president sacks governor of western Hama province

Arab World Materials 2 July 2011 13:36
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sacked the governor of the western province of Hama on Saturday, after tens of thousands took to the streets to reject his promises of reform.
Syrian president sacks governor of western Hama province

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sacked the governor of the western province of Hama on Saturday, after tens of thousands took to the streets to reject his promises of reform, DPA reported.

Al-Assad had "issued a decree discharging Ahmed Khaled from his position as the governor of Hama," Syrian state television reported Saturday.

Army forces launched a crackdown on protesters in Hama early last month.

This is the third time al-Assad had sacked a governor since anti-government protests began in mid-March. He has already replaced the governors of the southern Daraa province and the western Homs.

Saturday's announcement came after tens of thousands protested across Syria on Friday, calling on al-Assad to leave power. Around 15 people were killed when security forces used live ammunition and tear gas against protesters, according to activists.

More than 1,350 people and 340 security personnel have been killed since protests demanding greater freedoms and the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad began, according to the Syrian Observatory rights group.

Hama was the scene of a lethal government crackdown in 1982 that killed up to 20,000 people. Sunni residents of the town had attempted to revolt against then president Hafez al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.

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