A US embassy official said on Sunday Syrian authorities had launched a war against their own people by attacking the city of Hama to try to crush pro-democracy demonstrations.
"It is desperate. The authorities think that somehow they can prolong their existence by engaging in full armed warfare on their own citizens," Press Attache J.J. Harder told Reuters by phone. He described the official Syrian account of the violence as "nonsense".
The official Syrian news agency said the military had stormed Hama to cleanse it of armed groups who were "shooting intensively to terrorize citizens".