4 Aug 2011

Government attacks continue in Hama

8:24 am on 4 August 2011

Government tanks in Syria have reportedly advanced deep into the besieged city of Hama to crush opposition protests.

Residents have told Reuters that tanks have reached Orontes Square in the city centre. The square has been the focus of mass rallies against the President Bashar al-Assad.

The BBC quotes one resident saying he believed a massacre was taking place. He said he had seen piles of bodies in different parts of the city.

The reported advance followed a new bombardment of the city and its population of 800,000.

Human rights groups say at least 140 people have been killed in the Syrian unrest since Sunday, mainly in Hama, adding to a civilian death toll believed to be more than 1,600 since March.

The plight of Hama - where thousands were killed in 1982 when security forces crushed an anti-government uprising - has prompted many Syrians to stage solidarity marches since the start of the Ramadan holy month on Monday.