Syrian forces kill 3 at pro-Hama protest in south

AMMAN, July 31 Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:14pm EDT

AMMAN, July 31 (Reuters) - Security forces shot dead three demonstrators outside the main mosque in the southern Syrian city of Deraa on Sunday, two local activists said, targeting a protest held over a tank assault on the city of Hama launched earlier in the day.

Activists said hundreds of people massed after nightly prayers in the old quarter of Deraa in support of residents in Hama, where at least 80 civilians were killed on Sunday when tanks stormed the city, according to rights campaigners.

Deraa, cradle of a popular revolt against President Bashar al-Assad that began in March, was the first town to be hit by tanks three months ago in a military crackdown on unrest, and a heavy security presence remains there. . (Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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