At least 45 people were killed Wednesday in an assault on the Syrian city of Hama, said one witness who managed to escape the besieged town. Other residents said earlier Wednesday that tanks advanced into central Hama and occupied the main square, where the largest protests against President Bashar al-Assad are taking place. Forty of those killed were shot to death by heavy shelling from the tanks, the witness told Reuters. Al Jazeera reported late Wednesday that three people were killed in Nawa. The Syrian government began its latest crackdown on Sunday—the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan—and the United Nations condemned the government’s human-rights violations in the assault against the protesters.