Hama Governorate clashes (2011–12)
The Hama Governorate clashes were a series of incidents of fighting during 2011 and 2012 in the Syrian Governorate of Hama, as part of the Syrian Civil War.
The Attorney General of the Hama Governorate announced his resignation on 1 September in response to the government crackdown on protests. The government claimed he had been kidnapped and forced to lie at gunpoint.
On 14 November, SANA, state controlled media, reported that 13 soldiers were killed in Hama. By 17 November, the protests seemed to have calmed down, and the city was under government control. The streets were still littered with burnt out vehicles and police checkpoints were dotted around the city, despite the return to relative clam However, the same day, security forces carried out raids on homes looking for military defectors and made arrests.
At least six members of the security forces were reported killed in Hama on 11 December in clashes with the opposition. Syrian authorities claimed to have arrested a suspected terrorist who was trying to plant a bomb near a residential building. There were also reports that several civilians had been shot, although it was not specified whether they were wounded or killed.
Loyalist soldiers reportedly fired upon a civilian car on 14 December, killing five people, in response, the Free Syrian Army staged an ambush against a loyalist convoy consisting of four jeeps, killing eight soldiers.
Pro Assad forces stormed the city on 14 December in an effort to put down the protests, resulting in at least ten civilian fatalities. Clashes broke out when the Free Syrian Army attempted to halt the incursion, and at least two armoured vehicles were disabled by the rebels during a battle at Hadid Bridge. Activists said that tanks opened fire with machineguns and troops burnt shops that adhered to the oppositions strike.
Soldiers shot six protests to death, on 29 December, as Arab League monitors arrived in the city.
On 7 January 2012, Colonel Afeef Mahmoud Suleima of the Syrian Air Force logistics division defected from Bashar al-Assads government along with at least fifty of his men, and announced his defection on live television and ordered his men to protect protesters in the city of Hama.
"We are from the army and we have defected because the government is killing civilian protesters. The Syrian army attacked Hama with heavy weapons, air raids and heavy fire from tanks...We ask the Arab League observers to come visit areas affected by air raids and attacks so you can see the damage with your own eyes, and we ask you to send someone to uncover the three cemeteries in Hama filled with more than 460 corpses." Colonel Suleima said in a statement.
At least 17 bodies were found with bullet wounds to the head on 28 January, which activists claim had been caused by Pro government forces when they launched an armoured raid into the city. At least one of those executed was a police deserter.
According to Reuters, five government troops were killed "in clashes with rebel fighters in Qalaat al-Madyaq town in restive Hama area". Activists state that 10 FSA fighters were killed by the Syrian army in Kafr Nabudah in the Hama province. According to Syrian state TV, gunmen clashed with soldiers, causing the death of an officer and a sergeant and the injury of a corporal.
On 15 February, five soldiers were killed and nine were wounded during fighting with army deserters at Qalaat al-Madiq, in the central province of Hama.
On 28 February 2012, government forces shelled a town in Hama Province, Halfaya, killing 20 civilian villagers. Activists said the 20 deaths of Sunni Muslim villagers there were among at least 100 killed in the province in the last two weeks in government revenge attacks agasint innocent civilians.
By 27 March, the opposition had been controlling towns such as Qalaat al-Madiq and surrounding villages in Hama Province. Qalaat al-Madiq, a town with a historic castle that was shelled in the fighting was shelled by heavy barrages for 17 days. The army stormed the town with tanks. 4 civilians, 5 opposition fighters and 4 soldiers were said to have been killed but the group that reported this said that the army was still not in control of the town.
A massacre of some 86 people in the Hama town of al-Qubayr is reported to have occurred. Many of the victims were women and children, as they were in the previous Houla massacre in the Homs region.
The Syrian army engaged in heavy artillery shelling in Hama's suburbs. The clashes in Hama started after the rebels attacked government military checkpoints. According to opposition claims, after the military reportedly suffered four dead, the government troops started to shell residential areas, killing 30-37 civilians.
On 7 July, the state media claimed at least two rebels were killed when they tried to attack an army patrol On 29 July, the state media claimed at least 5 rebels were killed in a clash with the army in the Hama countryside.
On 5 November, the Syrian Observatory and FSA fighters claimed that 50 government soldiers were killed when Islamist rebels from Jabhat al-Nusra bombed a checkpoint near Hama. If true, it would be one of the deadliest single attacks of the war.
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