A human rights group says Syrian forces have killed 24 people on the first day of holy month of Ramadhan. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says most of the deaths were in the central city of Hama, the target of a heavy military operation since Sunday. Protests escalated on Monday, the first day of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The group said on Tuesday that Monday's deaths included 10 people in Hama, six in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen and three in the central province of Homs. Two were killed in the eastern town of al-Boukamal, two the coastal city of Latakia and one in Maadamiyah near Damascus. About 1,700 civilians have been killed since anti-regime protests began in mid-March, according to tallies by activists.