Syria Army Destroyed Hama City on Eve of Ramadan; Obama Condemns [VIDEO]

Syrian security forces have launched a major assault on Hama, the country's third-largest city, a day before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Witnesses said tanks moved into Hama at dawn, shelling civilians. Other towns also erupted in violence in one of the bloodiest days since protests began. The assault has particular resonance for Syrians, as the city of Hama was the site of one of the most horrific massacres in modern history.

The Syrian government has banned Al Jazeera, BBC, C and many other foreign media outlets from reporting from inside the country, making it difficult to verify reports of fighting. The National Organisation for Human Rights, a Syrian activist group, said 136 people were killed in Hama and three other centres across the country on Sunday. US President Barack Obama said reports from Hama were horrifying.

"Once again, President [Bashar al-Assad] has shown that he is completely incapable and unwilling to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people," he said. "I am appalled by the Syrian government's use of violence and brutality against its own people," Obama said. "The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime. "

Activists say more than 1,500 civilians and 350 security personnel have been killed across Syria since protests began in mid-March. More than 12,600 people have been arrested and 3,000 others are reported missing. Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said the regime had detained more than 4,000 people in raids over the past week as it tries to contain the situation.
 
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