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Syrian Troops Lock Down Protest Haven
July 4, 2011

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As part of a further crackdown on the protesters gathering en masse in the historically restive city of Hama, Syrian soldiers have added an Olympic champion to the list of injured, along with 20 other people. Athens bronze medalist Nasser al-Shami was part of the large protest in Hama.

No deaths were reported in Hama this time round, although Al-Shami was reported to be in stable condition at a hospital after being truck by pellets from a shotgun. The shooting was part of a lockdown of the large city, as troops and tanks blocked the roads leading into the city. A day after a protest numbering half a million people, crowds swelled to 300,000 as armed forces rolled in. Crackdowns were reported in other cities as well. Some reports were of armed forces opening fire on people fleeing across the border into Turkey.

The death toll since mid-March is thought to be more than 1,400, most unarmed civilians.

Hama was the site of another large crackdown on another large protest in 1982, when at least 10,000 people died. Syrian President Bashar Assad has turned his focus on Hama in recent days, including the firing of the city's governor.



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