Al-Assad does not let activists into Syria
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
REUTERS photoSyrian expatriates from around the world, forming the “Freedom Convoy to Syria,” were refused entry to the country by the al-Assad regime, during an effort to draw attention to the plight of people in their strife-torn homeland.
“We want to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis taking place in Syria. However, the al-Assad regime did not allow us. Now we will set up our tents and wait at the Syrian-Turkish border in order to protest the regime,” the spokesperson for the group, Hasan Hatip told to Hürriyet Daily News in an interview yesterday.
Up to 150 activists, brought together by a campaign on the social networking website Facebook, left the southeastern city of Gaziantep in buses and cars, carrying token relief supplies of blankets, medicine and food. The groups carrying Syrian flags and singing songs in Arabic, have chanted slogans calling for the freedom to Syrian people. Comprising of Syrian expatriates from Europe, North America and the Arab world, the group was stopped by the police before entering Kilis.
After their meeting with the deputy governor Erkan Çapar, eight people carrying Syrian passports were allowed to pass the border in order to talk with the Syrian authorities. “We want to go to Syria to show to the whole world what is happening there,” said Moayad Skaif, a 30-year-old Syrian journalist from Qatar on one of “Freedom Convoy to Syria” coaches. “al-Assad does not want the truth to come out.” Hasan Hatip said they wanted to make an impact on world public opinion like the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident has caused. “We want the whole world to see what is going on in Syria,” Hatip said.
However, the group was refused entry to Syria and set up a camp in the Turkish border in protest of the Syrian regime. Turkey’s foreign ministry sources said they had been in touch with the convoy, but did not say whether Turkey supported the campaign.