Friday 26 February 1982

After Rifaat Assad declared lifting the martial law and curfew, most residents who fled the city returned on 25 February.

People of Hama were all out early morning on Friday, 26 February 1982, trying to look for relatives and grasp an idea about how their city looked like, paying little attention to the soldiers repositioning around them.

When Hama residents felt assured enough to be on the streets of their destroyed city, soldiers started capturing and ordering them onto military trucks – in some areas soldiers even took people out of their homes.

After capturing at least 3500 people – men, women, and children – soldiers moved them to Soriehin Cemetery, ordered them into newly dug trenches, and killed them. Only two men survived that massacre – they were shielded by bead bodies.

What happened in Hama in 1982 was genocide. Hafez and Rifaat Assad intention was to kill as many people in Hama as possible, and to destroy the city. Mentioning only four names of the victims of the 26 February Massacre can substantiate that behind any doubt.

  • Abdurrahman Nueimi – a poet who wrote many poems praising Hafez Assad
  • Tayeh Juma – a lawyer and a communist party member
  • Issa Arjeh – 88 year-old Christian
  • Monkez Rayyes – 11 year-old boy

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