Rastan, contraerea degli anni Venti

"Tutto tranquillo a Rastan"Un giornalista dell’agenzia ufficiale turca Anadolu si è recato embedded assieme ad altri giornalisti stranieri accreditati a Rastan, nei pressi di Homs e teatro all’inizio di ottobre di combattimenti tra disertori e forze lealiste.

Syrian Information Ministry took on Friday (14 ottobre 2011) Syrian and foreign reporters to Al-Rastan town in Syria, where anti-government demonstrations continue for seven months.Almost 70 reporters, including Anadolu Agency reporter, arrived in Al-Rastan with the support of the Syrian ministry.

There are many security check-points in Al-Rastan, and one can see traces of ongoing military operation and clashes in the town. Bullet traces are seen in many buildings, whereas pavements were damaged. There are also bullet traces on balconies and walls of some houses. Some windows which were hit by bullets have not been repaired yet. The destroyed clock town in downtown Al-Rastan is an evidence of violence seen in the town.

Most of workplaces and shops are closed and people refrain from replying to questions because security officers do not leave people alone with journalists. 12-year-old Ahmet, whom AA reporter managed to interview, said clashes occurred between armed groups and army and he could not see who those people were as their faces were covered but though they were former soldiers.

Ahmet said his family was arrested and he was feared of being arrested, whereas a taxi driver said he did not want to talk to reporters. Homs Governor Ghassan Abdul-Al told reporters that life was normal in Al-Rastan, and reporters could see when visiting the town that everybody was minding his/her own business.

Abdul-Al said he did not know the exact number of armed people in the town, and armed people were of Syrian origin and there were many former soldiers among those arrested.

The governor said 45 percent of the town was harmed during clashes with armed groups, and security forces were withdrawing from the town gradually. A group of security officers would stay in the town until security was fully ensured, Abdul-Al said.

A military officer briefed reporters on weapons, and said they seized not only U.S. and Italian weapons but also many Russian AK-47 (kalashnikov) rifles. The military officer said an anti-aircraft, dating to 1920, was confiscated and the anti-aircraft was stolen from the army by soldiers and used against military troops.