After hovering over Hama in a helicopter to oversee the progress of destruction he ordered, Rifaat Assad asked for an estimation of the civilian casualties in the city. When he was told that 20,000 civilians were killed, he said, “20,000 is a small number for a city of 250,000 people.” Military official told him that most residents fled the city during the previous three weeks.
To make sure of the return of the fleers, Rifaat Assad announced that the “military operation in Hama was concluded” and he ordered military officials to announce that they lifted the curfew order and martial law in the city. Most fleers returned to the city on the 25th.
Monday 22 February 1982
Assad forces executed all detainees who belonged to al-Masri family.
They also killed more than 30 members of Sheikh-Othman family. One of the killed was a pregnant woman – they cut through her abdomen and when the fetus fell off her uterus, they killed her after killing her two other children.
Tuesday 23 February 1982
Assad forces announced the end of the “military operation in Hama.
Thursday 25 February 1982
Despite their announcement, Assad forced demolished 10 mosques and the Virgin Mary Church. However, most of the fleers returned to Hama on that day to be killed on the next day!