‘Full-on warfare by the Syrian government on its own people’

Al Jazeera reports:

Syrian forces have killed nearly 140 people, including 100 when the army stormed the flashpoint protest city of Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, activists have said.

Rights groups said it was one of deadliest days in Syria since demonstrators first took to the streets on March 15, demanding democratic reforms and the downfall of the government.

As reports of the brutal crackdown on Hama unfurled, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Turkey condemned the violence, while a US diplomat said it was “full-on warfare”.

AFP reports:

Speaking to the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme, [JJ] Harder [the press attache at the US embassy in Damascus] said: “I think we can safely say it’s full-on warfare by the Syrian government on its own people.”

He said: “This full-on warfare in which the government is engaged in today, I think, amounts to nothing less than a last act of utter desperation.

“They’re killing their own people, they’re sending their tanks into their own cities. It’s ridiculous.”

Asked if he accepted the Syrian government’s contention that its forces were up against armed gangs, Harder said: “There is one big armed gang in Syria and it’s named the Syrian government.

“That’s the armed gang that is pillaging its own cities, that’s the armed gang that is striking terror into the hearts of a lot of these people who are out there who just want to peacefully protest.”

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