The month of Ramadan is the holiest time of the Muslim year. Believers abstain from food, drink and sex from sunrise to sunset. Once darkness descends, all manner of festivities break loose throughout the Islamic world. People feast, sing, dance and—in Syria at least—confront restive, unarmed protesters with tanks and live ammunition, killing a reported 100-plus people in the first 48 hours of the holiday.
Troops assumed to be doing the bidding of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rolled into the defiant town of Hama early Sunday. YouTube was soon bubbling over with at-the-slaughter videos (warning: gruesome, graphic and plentiful) purporting to show government forces squeezing the population of 800,000 from four directions, blasting minarets off mosques, firing canons into crowds and taking up sniper posts to pick off particularly quarrelsome demonstrators.
Though Middle Eastern governments as a whole have been slow to condemn Assad's aggression against his own people, the world at large, if it cares to, can easily monitor Syrian security-force tactics—such as home invasion-style no-knock searches—that have made for a nation of hostages at home and refugees abroad.
If your primary news provider is light on Syria updates, keep an eye on #RamadanMassacre.