"a crackdown that, by the count of some human rights groups, has killed more than 2,000 people. Hama, the victim of one of the bloodiest moments in modern Middle East history, is a national symbol of violent repression. The military crushed an Islamist revolt there in 1982, killing at least 10,000 people. The assault in Hama last week, in which more than 200 people were killed, inflamed sentiments across the country"
Syria has been in revolt for months. News stories describe attacks by tanks and troops on nonviolent protesters. At least one story on the recent attack on Hama made it sound as though the city had been bombed out and destroyed.
Checking Wikipedia, the population of Hama is 696,863. 200 people killed comes to fewer than one in 3000.
Which raises an obvious puzzle. The figures on bodycounts are coming from the opposition, which one would not expect to minimize them. Yet they seem surprisingly small, given the scale of the violence.
Which makes me wonder if, at this stage of things, a lot of what is happening is bluff—security forces killing a handful of demonstrators in order to shut down demonstrations, while refraining from the sort of large scale violence of which they are surely capable for fear of setting off a level of conflict with which they cannot adequately deal.
"Syrian troops stormed the port city of Latakia and sprayed it with gunfire on Saturday, killing at least two people" (Aug 13 news story