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62 killed in Syrian Hama city, 12 dead in two other towns

Arab World Materials 31 July 2011 17:06
At least 62 people were killed Sunday when Syrian troops intensified their crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the central city of Hama, Syrian activists said.
62 killed in Syrian Hama city, 12 dead in two other towns

At least 62 people were killed Sunday when Syrian troops intensified their crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the central city of Hama, Syrian activists said, DPA reported.

And in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, six people were killed when tanks stormed al-Joura district early Sunday, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said. Some 50 people were injured.

In the southern Harak town, in Daraa province, six people were killed after security forces stormed the town, activists added.

In Hama, Syrian forces surrounded one of the major hospitals to prevent the wounded from reaching the hospital. Over 100 people were injured in the attacks, activists said.

Tanks stormed the city at dawn, shelling the northern parts. Electricity and water supplies to the main areas were cut before the attack began, said Omar Idlibi, an activist based in Lebanon.

"The casualties are rising minute by minute in Hama as the army is continuing its harsh crackdown and preventing people from reaching the hospital," Idilbi told the German Press Agency dpa.

"The shells were falling intensely on the city and the army was shooting randomly on houses and anything that moves," he said.

"Civilians in Hama are hiding in stairways or shelters to escape the shelling," Idlibi added.

Activists also said that shells hit the water reservoir tank in the city.

Tanks besieged and shelled Hama, around 200 kilometres north of Damascus, earlier in July after massive anti-government demonstrators packed the provincial capital.

In 1982, a lethal government crackdown caused the deaths of up to 20,000 people in the city, when the town's Sunni population attempted to revolt against then president Hafez al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.

Local human rights advocates say that more than 1,500 civilians have been killed since protests calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad began in mid-March. Over 350 security personnel have also been killed.

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