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Syrian army leaves Hama, heads north-west

Syrian army leaves Hama, heads north-west
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Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad ordered the army to withdraw from the city of Hama on Wednesday.

The action followed harsh criticism from the Turkish prime minister who said Assad was aiming guns at his own people.

Turkey’s ambassador visited the city and confirmed the withdrawal.

10 days of military occupation with troops and tanks has left the city looking like a ghost town, with deserted streets and buildings bearing the scars of heavy weapons.

Homes have been hit by shells and rocket fire, and some have been abandoned to be looted by persons unknown. It is thought 100 or more civilians were killed during the seige, but the government showed journalists police stations burned out by what they called “terrorists” at the end of July, and said 17 police officers had been murdered by “armed gangs”.

At the same time Syrian armour was reported to be on the move towards Taffanaz and Idib on the Turkish border, where another five deaths were reported this morning. Tanks also entered the town of Sermin, and there was fighting in Binnish.