Syria denies the army re-entry to central Hama

Updated: 2011-08-11 10:11


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DAMASCUS - Syria's state TV denied as "baseless" what al-Jazeera TV reported that Syrian troops in tanks re-entered the central city of Hama overnight Wednesday.

Al-Jazeera said army troops in tanks re-entered Hama overnight after local and international journalists, who were on a government-organized trip, left the city.

During a trip organized by the Syrian Information Ministry for foreign correspondents to Hama and northern city of Idlib on Wednesday, a Xinhua reporter witnessed that government troops in tanks and vehicles withdrew from Idlib and Hama after finishing their mission to restore normalcy to the cities.

The reporter cited a senior military officer in Hama as saying the army has conducted a number of operations to protect the lives of civilians and confronted the armed groups that committed atrocities there.

Upon entering Hama, the reporter saw a two-story police station that was burnt down by alleged gunmen on July 31, after killing all policemen inside.

He said there are cement barriers and barricades in all streets of Hama, adding that the Syrian soldiers are sweeping the streets and clearing barricades from streets as uncollected garbage piled up.

Syria has come under international pressure for its alleged crackdown on anti-government protestors. The authorities brushed off the pressure as "interference in the country's internal affairs" and blamed the violence on armed thugs and ultraconservative Muslims who want to establish an Islamic emirate.

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