Aug. 11 - Foreign journalists are granted access to the central city of Hama on a trip organized by Turkey and sanctioned by the Syrian government. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Foreign journalists are granted access to the central city of Hama Thursday on a trip organized by Turkey and sanctioned by the Syrian government. Hama has been at the epicenter of protests against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year rule. The trip comes after the Turkish Foreign Minister met the Syrian President where the two discussed the 10-day assault on the city. A Turkish envoy then traveled to Hama Wednesday, reporting that tanks and artillery had been withdrawn from the town. While the tanks may have gone the anger has not gone away. SOUNDBITE: Hama resident, saying: (Arabic) "They have been ruling us for 50 years. Assad's rule has lasted for 50 years. Through our determination, God willing -- and we address Bashar al-Assad specifically: we will remove you by force. We will remove him by force. We are on our own. Look at us, we have nothing. They attacked us with tanks, they attacked us by airplane, with every means within their power, and we have nothing." The visit marks the first time foreign journalists have been allowed in the city after a military assault claimed the lives of at least 300 people according to human rights groups. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters