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updated 8/8/2011 1:48:50 PM ET 2011-08-08T17:48:50

Amid escalating violence against anti-government protesters in Syria, the Anonymous hackers have launched their own offensive against President Bashar al-Assad by defacing the country's Ministry of Defense website.

Anonymous hijacked the government site today (Aug. 8) and posted a picture of its logo and a message, in English and Arabic, reading, "To the Syrian people : The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side … We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime's brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar al-Assad is next."

Syrian troops and the country's president are under international scrutiny for attacks on protesters that have killed more than 300 people in the past week, The Huffington Post reports.

A member of Anonymous told The Huffington Post that today's Syrian website hack falls in line with the group's political agenda, which is to launch online attacks against "pretty much anything standing in the way of democratic governance" or infringing on human rights.

"The [ministry of defense] was targeted because it represents the Syrian military, which is the key moving part in the ongoing uprising there. If the military turns against the regime, the regime is toast," the Anonymous member said.

Today's Internet activism against Syria is the latest in a string of hacks and website defacements that have targeted oppressive Arab governments. Government websites in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Iran and Tunisia have all been hit by online protests.

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