Syrian FM warns ambassadors not to leave capital

July 20, 2011 - 5:59 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's foreign minister has warned the U.S. and French ambassadors not to travel outside Damascus without permission.

Walid al-Moallem said Wednesday that if the ambassadors defy the orders, Syria will ban all diplomats from leaving the capital.

Earlier this month, the U.S. and French ambassadors traveled to the restive city of Hama, a stronghold of opposition to President Bashar Assad.

The Syrian government slammed the visit and said it was unauthorized. The regime accused the envoys of interfering in Syria's internal affairs.

Syria is trying to quell a four-month-old uprising challenging President Bashar Assad's rule.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BEIRUT (AP) — Amnesty International says it fears dozens of Syrian detainees are being tortured after mass arrests outside the capital, Damascus.

The international rights group said in a statement Tuesday that dozens of men are being held incommunicado following a raid last weekend targeting pro-reform protesters.

The Syrian regime is trying to crush a four-month-old uprising that has proved to be the most serious challenge to the Assad family's 40-year ruling dynasty.

Human rights groups say more than 1,600 people have been killed in the crackdown.

Activists say Syrian security forces opened fire on a funeral procession Tuesday, killing up to 10 people in the central city of Homs.