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Syria army shells Hama, seizes Central Square

08-04-2011 08:20 BJT Special Report:Unrest in Syria |

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Fresh clashes erupted Wednesday in the Syrian city of Hama as government forces took control of Assi Square. President Bashar al-Assad continues to show no signs of halting the military assault against anti-government protests.

Syrian tanks stormed Hama under heavy shelling Wednesday, taking over the main square at the heart of the restive city and cutting off electricity, water and phone lines on the fourth day of the offensive.

Activists reported hearing fresh explosions, fierce shelling by tanks and machine gun fire in many parts of the city.

The central Assi Square in recent weeks had been the site of demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for the downfall of President Assad's regime.

A religiously conservative city about 200 kilometers north of Damascus, Hama had largely fallen out of government control since June.

People duck to avoid gunfire in Kazou neighbourhood in Hama in this still
image taken from video

But Syrian forces backed by tanks and snipers launched a military offensive on Sunday, tightening their siege on Hama and sending residents fleeing for their lives.

The death toll since Sunday has reached around 100, but the exact figure is difficult to verify.

The crackdown has drawn a fresh wave of international condemnation against the Syrian government.

People duck to avoid gunfire in Kazou neighbourhood in Hama in this still image
taken from video

The EU and the US have imposed asset freezes, travel bans and other sanctions against the country, while Italy has recalled its ambassador to Damascus.

The Syrian government argues though western countries have emphasized their concerns about Syrian civilians, they have totally ignored the crimes made by armed terror groups.

Syria's state media have reported that terrorists are pretending to be soldiers and are attacking civilians.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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