Reports from protesters said that the vast majority of those slain today were killed by machine gun fire, which has been reported firing randomly into crowds. Five of those killed today, however, apparently were killed while trying to flee the city.
Hama has been the site of some of the largest protests against the Assad regime, with hundreds of thousands marching in the city on some days. The site of those protests was the Orontes Square, which the military seized today.
Though the Assad government has repeatedly resorted to killings in the face of these protests, it has been extremely counterproductive so far, with the largest marches coming in response to violent crackdowns. With the Hama massacres among the most violent yet, what follows may be much, much bigger.