French envoy in solidarity trip to Syria protest city

France's ambassador to Syria travelled to the flashpoint city of Hama to show solidarity with the victims of a crackdown on anti-government protestors, officials said on Friday.

“He went to show France’s engagement with the victims, the civilian population,” foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters, adding that the envoy went to Hama on Thursday.

Hundreds of people have fled Hama ahead of demonstrations Friday under the banner of “no to dialogue” with President Bashar al-Assad. More than 150,000 protesters gathered after weekly prayers to defy the regime, activists said.

“The French ambassador did go to Hama yesterday,” Valero confirmed in Paris. “In particular, he went to one of the main hospitals in the city where he met medical teams, the wounded and their families.

“France repeats its concern over the fate of the inhabitants of the city of Hama, and its condemnation of the violence being carried out by Syrian authorities against the protesters and the civilian population.”

The United States’ ambassador to Syria also visited Hama on Thursday, leading the regime to accuse Washington of fomenting trouble and meddling in its internal affairs.

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