June 16 - Syria organizes a media tour of battle-scared Jisr al-Shughour as protests continue in other parts of the country and refugees speak of their fears. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Scenes from the northern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour. The government organized a media tour of the town. Buildings are scarred from fighting. Some streets remain barren. On Friday the Syrian government sent tanks into the mainly Sunni Muslim town of 50,000 people to put down protests against the country's leadership. Authorities say 120 security personnel were killed in and around the town of Jisr al-Shughour earlier this month. Syria's official state news agency says the army assault restored security in the town and tens of thousands were coming home. Turkish officials say 8,500 Syrians, many from Jisr al-Shughour, have sought sanctuary in Turkey. Amateur video which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows displaced people on the Syrian Turkish border. A woman speaks of her plight. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified displaced woman, saying (English): "They made us homeless with our kids, we are destitute under the rain and everything, our kids are sick. He is accusing us of being armed gangs, where are these armed gangs? He is the one sending us Hezbollah and Iran. Where are these armed gangs he is talking about, let him show them to us. We don't want him, (Assad), we want someone who fears God.'' Other footage out of Hama shows people continuing to call for the end of the regime. Video purportedly from the outskirts of Damascus shows people burning a picture of President Bashar al-Assad while chanting "Bashar leave, we do not love you." Syrian rights groups say 1,300 civilians and more than 300 soldiers and police have been killed since protests broke out in March against 41 years of rule by the Assad family. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.