The city of Hama paid tribute to the anniversary of the 1982 massacre, in which 10,000 residents were decimated in an assault on a Sunni Islamist uprising that protested against the now deceased Hafez al-Assad. It has been described as the single dealiest attack on a Muslim community in the Arab world that has ever been known to man.
The dead president authorised scorched earth tactics to subdue and ultimately suppress the inhabitants of the city. The Sunni Islamist protest was not characterised for its restraint or even its discrimination between Sunni or other elements of Muslim society. The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was put down in its attempts at protest, whose leaders were in fact from the same Alawite sect that Bashar al-Assad adheres to now. It seems that much has changed now the Muslim Brotherhood has gained important seats in the Egyptian parliament.
However, the anniversary was met with another day of confrontations between Syrian security forces and occupiers of Hama, whether these be residents or Free Syrian Army members.
The rituals of respecting the dead were cut short, however, when the security forces dispersed the protest in historically affected districts of the city. It has been reported that one person has died in the proceeding confrontation.
This is not likely to deter other elements of the population, which seems to be a repetitive aspect of this internal conflict. Rather, it will inflame a determination to keep opposing the authorities. The death of this one individual on this particular day will certainly entrench the attitudes of both security forces and its resistance.
It appears that with the Russians prepared to veto any resolution on intervention on Syria, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is in store for a prolonged, drawn out and bloody confrontation with the forces of the popular will.