Washington: The US on Wednesday asked the Syrian regime of Basher al-Assad to immediately halt intimidation against its own people, even as in a fresh crackdown 11 protesters were killed in a flash-point city in Syria.
   
"We urge the government of Syria to immediately halt its intimidation and arrest campaign, to pull its security forces back from Hama and other cities, and to allow Syrians to express their opinions freely so that a genuine transition to democracy can take place," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.

She said, “The US is very concerned about the ongoing attacks against peaceful demonstrators in Syria.”
     
"The Government of Syria claims that it's interested in dialogue at the same time that it is attacking and massing forces in Hama, where demonstrations have been nothing but peaceful, and continuing its attacks along the Turkish border," she said.
   
A week ago, she said, the city of Hama was the positive example of a city in Syria where peaceful demonstrations were allowed, where people were meeting each other and organizing and talking.
     
"And on Wednesday, we see Hama surrounded by Syrian security forces. So we're going in the wrong direction," said the spokesperson.

"We'd like to see the violence stop. We'd like to see peaceful demonstrators allowed. And we'd like to see a real dialogue begin. We want to see political prisoners released. We want to see repression and torture ending in Syrian jails," Nuland said.

(Agencies)