by Linda Young

Syrian army and security forces stormed the nation's fourth-largest city, Hama, on Tuesday morning, according to a human rights group.

The information came from the group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). It sent a report by email to All Headline News on Tuesday.

According to the group, "an extensive security operation by army groups, security forces and Shibiha (thugs)" was underway. The group said the attackers were coming from all directions and using armored vehicles to break into Hama.

SOHR reported that the sounds of explosions, artillery shells and machine guns could be heard everywhere. However, the battle was especially bad "at the western entrance of the city near Kasbashi Crossroad, the northern entrance near Sabahi Crossroad, the southern entrance near Nasr Crossroad and the eastern entrance near Mazarib Bridge."

"Additionally, there was a heavy weapons firing from Hama's Castle, downtown the city, and from the polyclinic in Munakh area, specifically the building of Baath Party in the area of Hadir, as well as the building of Positions' Leadership in Dabagha Street, and also from the military barriers widely spread in the districts of the city," the group said.

The attack coincided with a cutoff of both Internet services and electricity in the city, according to the group.

SOHR said it had received reports that at least four civilians were wounded in the Sharqiya, Al-Hadir district.

The attack on Hama is just the latest round of violence in Syria.

The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that over the past eight months at least 3,500 people had been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on dissent. That includes 19 people killed Sunday during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, according to a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights.

In the meantime, President Bashar al-Assad's government has blamed the unrest on "terrorists."

Syrian troops kill 12 people just hours after agreeing to halt violence

Just a day after Syrian government signed an agreement to halt violence and hold talks with opposition within two weeks, the government's security forces on Thursday killed 12 people in Homs.

"We were hoping the violence might stop after the authorities agreed to the initiative, but the scene is still unbearable," said Mohammed Saleh, a resident of Homs.

"The bloodshed hasn't stopped, and the army and security forces haven't left the streets," he added.

Meanwhile, the opposition claimed that the armed forces have violated the deal in its infancy by building up in the city, adding that the sounds of gunfire could be well heard throughout the night. There were also reports of clashes in capital Damascus, northern region of Idlib and southern town of Dara'a where the uprising initially started.

The killing has prompted the Syrian opposition to call nationwide street protests on Friday to test government's patience against peaceful protesters.



"Syrian City Of Hama Under Attack"