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Syria accuses US of inciting unrest
Syria accuses Washington of inciting unrest, slams US ambassador's trip to flashpoint city
By The Associated Press

BEIURT (AP) ' A Foreign Ministry official in Syria has accused Washington of inciting the unrest in the Arab nation.

Syria's state-run news agency is quoting an unnamed ministry official on Friday as saying the U.S. ambassador's visit to the flashpoint city of Hama proves that Washington has a hand in the country's troubles.

The report says Ambassador Robert Ford traveled to Hama without permission.

The State Department said Ford traveled independently Thursday to Hama to show solidarity with residents protesting against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Ford participated in a government-organized excursion to northern Syria last month.

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

BEIRUT (AP) ' Syrian activists say security forces killed three people in a Damascus suburb during an overnight protest against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Many activists have recently been opting for nighttime demonstrations and candlelight vigils, aiming for a time when the security presence thins out.

Three activists confirmed the Damascus death toll to The Associated Press.

A Syria-based activist says residents told him that security forces used live bullets and smoke bombs to quell the demonstration. He spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for his own safety.

Assad is trying to quell a four-month uprising with violent crackdowns coupled with promises of reform.

Syrians were preparing for another round of nationwide protests on Friday.

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