The 1981 Hama massacre occurred, according to one report, after a failed attack by armed Islamist guerillas on a security checkpoint near an Alawite village near Hama. As a revenge action, units of the Syrian Special Forces and the 47th Brigade deployed into Hama and launched house-to-house searches, sealing off neighborhoods as street fighting erupted. A curfew was imposed and Syrian Army troops entered the city. Between Thursday, April 23, 1981, and Sunday, April 26 1981, security forces executed at least 350 residents of the city and injured 600 more, chosen randomly among the male population over the age of 14.
"Opposition exploded in the late 1970s, touched off by Asad's military intervention in Lebanon in 1976. Public discontent fed on many grievances, rampant inflation, a housing crisis deepened by refugees from Lebanon, official corruption, security forces from which no one felt safe, and the domination of the 'Alawis. Over four years unrest spread to every sector of Syrian society, and by the beginning of 1980 it seemed possible the regime would be overthrown. The most powerful opposition came from the Islamists, a cluster of groups usually known as the Muslim Brotherhood"