February 28, 2013
by Nuha Shabaan and Jacob Wirtschafter
Government troops continued to fire heavy artillery and deploy tanks in Hama today.
Local opposition supporters say the battle for Syria's fourth largest city is an attempt to prevent a FSA approach to nearby Alawite villages.
"Clashes were heaviest in the villages of Sarihain and Jinan with the army and shabiha reinforcement coming from neighboring villages dominated by the regime.” said Maher al-Hamawi, spokesman for the Local Coordinating Council.
Al Hamawi described heavy rocket and artillery bombardment directed at civilian areas from the Hama military airport.
“The government army has launched an insane campaign in the southern rural areas. Even field hospitals are being targeted and medics get arrested inside the operation rooms," said al-Hamawi.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that both sides suffered losses with a military vehicle ambushed late Wednesday and “campaign of arbitrary raids and arrests in the al-Hadir and Dahiyat al-Nusr neighborhoods” in the city center.
While the LCC spokesman is convinced that a separatist, sectarian plan is the reason for his city’s plight, he declared that “Syria will always be united and all its sects will live in peace and enjoy freedom.”