Damascus: Syrian forces killed nearly 140 people on Sunday when the army stormed the flashpoint protest city of Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, activists said.
Activists said it was one of deadliest days in Syria since demonstrators first took to the streets on March 15 demanding democratic reforms before turning their wrath on the regime and calling for its ouster.
As reports of the brutal military crackdown on Hama unfurled, Britain, Germany, France and Italy condemned the violence while a US diplomat said it was "full-on warfare".
"It is one of the deadliest days" since the protests erupted in mid-March, said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Death tolls provided by the Observatory and other human rights groups showed that at least 136 people were killed across Syria - with most of them falling in Hama.
"One hundred civilians were killed on Sunday in Hama by gunfire from security forces who accompanied the army as it stormed the city," said Abdel Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights.
Rihawi said five other people were killed in the central city of Homs and three more in the northwestern province of Idlib when security forces opened fire on protesters who rallied in support of Hama.
Story first published:
August 01, 2011 08:48 IST