TOP 5 EVENTS OF THE SYRIAN REVOLUTION, #3: The Hama protests. Anti-government protests took place in the Syrian city of Hama at the beginning of the revolution. On July 1, 2011 Hama witnessed its largest protest, with more than 400,000 participants, decrying the rule of Bashar al-Assad.Two days later, Syrian army forces deployed in Hama and 16 civilians were killed. That was the beginning of what activists described as “the siege of Hama”. On July 6, the US Ambassador Robert Ford and the French ambassador Eric Chevalier visited Hama. The ambassadors were received with flowers during Hama’s biggest protest when more than 500,000 flooded the city on July 8.
The Syrian government feared Hama’s large demonstrations would turn into daily protests during Ramadan. On July 31, the eve of Ramadan, the Syrian army was sent into Hama to suppress its protests. More than 100 people were killed in Hama in what activists called ‘Ramadan Massacre”. The death toll reached 200 by August 4, 2011.
The Asi [Orontes] Square large protest was suppressed. It was the last major anti-government protest in Syria. A peaceful uprising seemed to be impossible to achieve after that. Syria was headed for a civil war and military conflict.
In the 1980s Hama was the center of a revolt by the Syrian Muslim Brethren against the rule of Hafez al-Assad. In February 1982, the revolt was quelled by the Syrian army in a scorched earth policy. Amnesty International initially estimated the death toll was between 10,000 and 25,000, the vast majority of which were civilians.