Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Middle east

US ambassador to observe Hama demonstrations

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-07

The US ambassador to Damascus is visiting Hama and will observe demonstrations in the city Friday. The purpose of his visit is to express the US’s support for the “right of the Syrian people to assemble peacefully”.

AFP - The US ambassador to Damascus is visiting the flashpoint Syrian city of Hama and plans to observe mass demonstrations Friday against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the State Department said.

Last Friday, an anti-regime rally brought out half a million people in Hama, according to pro-democracy activists. The security services did not intervene and Assad fired the city's governor the next day.

Syrian authorities have been trying to quell protests in the city, traditionally a center of opposition to central government, and have positioned tanks on the main entrances, except in the north.

Ambassador Robert Ford spent the day in Hama, "expressing our deep support for the right of the Syrian people to assemble peacefully and to express themselves," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Nuland said Ford had spoken to more than a dozen residents in Hama, and visited a hospital where victims of violence were being treated.

"He is interested in seeing the activity tomorrow," she said, referring to the latest in a series of planned protests after Friday prayers.

A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ford was in the city "to make contact" with opposition leaders.

"We need to know who these guys are, we need to know what they aspire to in terms of political process and a different future for their country. We need to make contact and that's what he's there to do," the official said.

Washington acknowledged last week that Ford had met with opponents of the Assad regime.

Nuland stressed that the ambassador had made "his own trip" to Hama, unlike a previous visit on June 21 to a restive town near the Turkish border in which Ford and other foreign diplomats were escorted as guests of the regime.

"We're greatly concerned about the situation in Hama," Nuland said. "The situation, he (Ford) says, is tense, a lot of shops are closed, folks are concerned."

Hundreds of residents have fled Hama in recent hours, fearing a crackdown from the army on the eve of new demonstrations there and across the country voicing opposition to any dialogue with the Assad regime.

Hama has been a symbol of opposition since the 1982 crackdown on a revolt by the banned Muslim Brotherhood against then-president Hafez al-Assad, father of the present leader, in which some 20,000 people were killed.

Rights groups say that more than 1,300 civilians have been killed and 10,000 people arrested by Syrian security forces since mid-March.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Assad that time for his regime is running out but stopped short of directly calling for him to step down.

 

Date created : 2011-07-07

  • SYRIA

    Mass arrests follow deadly crackdown in Hama

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Rights group accuses Syria of crimes against humanity

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)