Ramadan Massacre: Videos Show Horror of Syria's Deadliest Day

As many as 136 were killed in the government crackdown

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On Sunday, the day before the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Syrian military, under the control of President Bashar al-Assad, stormed the city of Hama and other nearby cities in what media outlets are calling the "Ramadan Massacre." At this point reports of the injuries and fatalities are still unclear. Al-Jazeera is reporting that at least 136 people are dead, while the New York Times puts the death toll at 71. The Syrian government has banned many foreign media outlets from reporting from inside the country, making it difficult to verify reports of fighting. What is clear, however, is that this may be the deadliest day since the Syrian government began its crackdown on the mostly peaceful protests, claiming the lives of more than 1,600 so far.

President Obama said he was appalled by the Syrian government's use of violence against its people. In a statement released by the White House on Sunday, he said "the reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime." Reports have come in from Hama residents all day. The Times reports that Hama residents reached by telephone "offered wrenching accounts, telling of youths trying to block the way of tanks with little more than sticks, stones and iron bars."

Reuters reports that one of the Hama residents, "a doctor who did not want to be further identified for fear of arrest,"  said that there were 51 people wounded at Badr hospital alone, which was running short of blood for transfusions. He said tanks had surrounded another main hospital, al-Horani.

"Tanks are attacking from four directions. They are firing their heavy machine guns randomly and overrunning makeshift road blocks erected by the inhabitants," the doctor said, the sound of machine gun fire crackling in the background.

The Associated Press reports that corpses were scattered in the streets. A video from Sham (not independently verified), a website sympathetic to protesters according to the Times, shows this harrowing scene below. The video is very graphic.

Other videos posted on YouTube by Syrians show "indiscriminate shelling of Hama," including one found by Telegraph below.

Other deaths were reported in the Hama countryside; al-Joura in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour; and al-Hirak village in the southern province of Daraa.

Reports from the Syrian government tell a very different story. According to the Times, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that dozens of gunmen had ascended rooftops and were “shooting intensively to terrorize citizens.”  It said insurgent groups had set fire to police stations, vandalized public and private property and set up roadblocks and barricades.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.