Police commandoes pursue armed gunmen in Syria’s Hama.

1/8 Tass 18

BEIRUT, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The anti-rebel special forces are chasing down armed gunmen, who are terrorizing the civilians in the Syrian city of Hama. The armed rebels against the current Syrian authorities started storming the state agencies and police stations in the city, which is situated 210 kilometers north of Damascus, since early morning, the Syrian Interior Ministry reported on Sunday. The fires broke out in many buildings after the lootings. The gunmen took hostage the civilians and waged the sporadic fire from the house roofs. The security forces “gave a rebuff to armed gangs, which are driving motorcycles,” the ministry said in a statement. Eight police officers were killed.

The Interior Ministry asked the Syrians for help “to find underground shelters of gunmen in order to unarm them and bring to justice.” Armed extremists pose “a major threat to peace in Syria,” the statement runs.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that 145 people were killed in various Syrian regions, including 1133 residents in Hama alone. Since the start of riots in the middle of March this is the largest number of casualties for one day in the country. Hama, which had been blocked by the troops for a month, was stormed by the elite forces, which constitute the defence of the current rule, for the past day.

The armored forces are being reinforced around a neighboring industrial center of Homs (165 kilometers north of Damascus), Al Jazeera reported. Local residents are afraid that the ongoing events in Hama may recur in Homs. The special forces entered several settlements in the Damascus suburbs, particularly Al Kiswa, Harasta and Muamadia, where the opposition staged large-scale rallies demanding for President Bashar Assad to be toppled. Over 220 people were detained in Muamadia, Al Jazeera reported.

The Syrian national television reported about the clashes with the rebels in Deir Az Zor, which is an administrative center in the province of the same name in north-eastern Syria. This city on the Euphrates River is populated with the comers from the Bedouin tribes, which joined the anti-governmental actions quite recently.

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