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Syrians flee opposition town fearing crackdown

Hama residents flee fearing a repeat of the 1982 massacre

AP , Thursday 7 Jul 2011
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A Syrian activist says hundreds of people are fleeing the city of Hama fearing a crackdown by government forces.

Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says dozens of families left Thursday.

Last week, hundreds of thousands of Hama residents staged the largest protest of the four-month old uprising.

They now fear Syrian forces will mount a full-scale offensive into Hama as part of attempts to crush an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime. At least 20 people have been killed in recent days in Hama as authorities try to quell more protests.

The city is an important symbol of Syrian resistance. In 1982, Assad's father ordered troops to crush a rebellion, killing thousands.

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