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40th Anniversary of Hama Massacre Coincides with Rifaat al-Assad’s Return

Rifaat al-Assad's return to Syria perpetuates the impunity of regime officials, 40 years after the Hama massacre, according to the Shaam News Network.
40th Anniversary of Hama Massacre Coincides with Rifaat al-Assad's Return
40th Anniversary of Hama Massacre Coincides with Rifaat al-Assad’s Return

The 40th anniversary of the 1982 Hama massacre coincides with Rifaat al-Assad’s return to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said in its report released on Tuesday. UN bodies have made no reference to the massacre even though murders and enforced disappearances constitute crimes against humanity. 

The 30-page report said that February 2022 marks the  40th anniversary of the horrific massacre by Hafez al-Assad and the Syrian regime in Hama, in 1982. 

The report pointed out that the country is still ruled by the same family. Forty years of immunity culminated in the return of Rifaat al-Assad, the most prominent person involved in Hama’s crimes against humanity in 1982.

Read Also: Rifaat al-Assad: How Europe Embraced the Butcher of Hama then Allowed him to Escape Punishment, Twice

Documented statistics indicated that 7,984 civilians had been killed in the city and 3,762 had been forcibly disappeared. However, it is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 civilians have been killed, in addition to some 17,000 missing. 

The report said that documenting the massacre was a complex process: the length of time, the severe weakness in global or regional media coverage, the lack of a local press and an independent national judiciary, due to the Syrian regime’s dominance over the three authorities. 

“The anniversary of the February 1982 Hama massacre, in which the Syrian regime killed tens of thousands of people in the city and hid tens of thousands more, coincides with the return of Rifaat al-Assad to Bashar al-Assad. Rifaat is the main suspect in the massacre after Hafez al-Assad, who headed the army and armed forces, died. This is a terrible embodiment of the culture of total impunity. It is shameful that there is no UN document acknowledging the massacre,” said Fadel Abdel Ghani, director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights. “By exposing the fate of tens of thousands of victims and holding the perpetrators accountable, the United Nations has a duty to correct its historic mistake.” 

Syrian regime forces began a massive preparatory bombardment of many neighborhoods randomly with cannons and machine guns, then several forces stormed the city from different axes. They carried out field executions and random killings, in addition to dozens of looting and sexual violence. There were armed clashes between Syrian regime forces and Muslim Brotherhood members in the city. The report spoke of the air force’s intervention, tanks entering and bombing houses without distinguishing between civilians and gunmen. The report confirmed that the Syrian regime forces arrested hundreds of the city’s residents, without charge, and executed some of them by firing squad in the streets.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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