- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for a halt of violence; Source: Gobierno de Chile (Flickr)
The incident has caused strong international criticism. US President Barack Obama condemned the attacks by security forces and stressed that “…Assad has shown that he is completely incapable and unwilling to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people.” UN leader Ban Ki-moon also called on al-Assad to halt the military operations. Germany, as a current member of the UN Security Council has requested emergency discussions on Monday. These could however be blocked by several countries including Russia, China and India which still criticise the NATO bombing of Libya.
The Syrian government denies that peaceful protesters were killed and stresses that armed gangs were vandalising public and private property in Hama which required an intervention by the military. Hama has been a centre of anti-government protests since security forces killed 70 people in June. The army had to retreat from the city after demonstrators started to hold the streets and erected barricades to hinder the army of re-entering. It is expected that the protests of large parts of the population will get stronger during the religious month of fasting, Ramadan.