Syrian troops reportedly kill 24 in Hama city: TV

09:05, August 01, 2011      

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The Syrian army backed by tanks stormed early Sunday the violence-hit city of Hama after nearly one month of siege on the city, reportedly killing at least 24 people, pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV cited witnesses and activists as reporting.

Army tanks entered at dawn on Sunday the city of Hama from four sides under heavy gunfire, the report said, adding that 24 people were killed during the army overrun.

It cited a doctor in the city as saying that the Badr hospital received the bodies of 19 people and the other five bodies were taken to another hospital.

The report, however, couldn't be independently verified as there is no official comment yet.

Abdul-Karim al-Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights, told Xinhua earlier that the security forces are conducting a "pre-emptive campaign" before the Muslims' holy month of Ramadan starts, as some opposition parties have already said they would demonstrate daily during Ramadan to increase pressure on the government.

The city of Hama has a storied history of rebellion against the Syrian leadership and was a stronghold of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which staged a rebellion in 1982. It is now witnessing the largest turnout since the eruption of protests in mid-March.

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