40 dead in Syria as troops raid Hama
As the Syrian revolt enters its 10th month, the pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been increasing. Additionally, the death toll among civilians and members of the security and military forces is on the rise, with conflicting reports on the number of dead on Wednesday.
Activists reported that the government militia ("Chabihah") stormed Hama to end the general strike, but encountered resistance from dissidents from the army. Activists said Syrian troops backed by tanks killed at least ten people when they stormed yesterday the city of Hama. In response, dissidents from the Syrian army attacked a convoy of military jeeps outside of Hama, killing eight soldiers, according to various sources. At least 30 people were killed in other parts of Syria.
According to the activists, yesterday's operation in Hama was the first since a massive military campaign in the city back in August to end the mass protests in the center of the city. Reports on Wednesday said government troops entered the neighborhoods to the north and east of the city and opened fire with machine guns. They looted and burned shops, which were closed as part of the "strike of dignity" declared by the opposition.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights conveyed "The district of Hamidiya in Hama was under heavy machine guns, and clashes between dissidents and the loyalist of the regime were still continuing "until late Wednesday."
A statement by the Observatory added that five civilians were shot dead by Syrian security forces in Bab Amr district in Homs, as well as three civilians were killed by security forces in the province of Idlib in the northwest of Syria, near the Turkish border. The statement added that an "Iraqi woman was shot dead by snipers in Zabadani" in the province of Damascus.