Syrian Troops Kill 80 as Ramadan Begins

It was a deadly beginning for the Ramadan season in Syria after at least 80 civilians were reportedly killed in Hama on Sunday, when troops aligned with President Bashar al-Assad attacked the city known as one of the main centers of the ongoing Syrian uprising.

Rights groups said Assad’s troops used tanks in what may be the deadliest day thus far in the months long uprising. Hama, located just north of capital Damascus, was also the site of the infamous 1982 massacre, where up to 40,000 were killed in a scorched earth operation carried out by military forces under the orders of then-President Hafez al-Assad, the current president’s father.

The Syrian government, through its state news agency, defended the attack, saying that the operation was carried out to eliminate armed groups in the city. The government’s defense was, however, dismissed by the international community, with U.S. President Barack Obama condemning Assad’s latest transgression against democracy. “Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward,” Obama said in a statement, according to Reuters.