Nearly 200 activists were barred by Syrian authorities from entering the country to deliver aid supplies to civilian victims of President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown of an anti-government uprising, organizers said.
The activists, mostly Syrians living in countries that include Bulgaria, the Netherlands, France and the U.S., traveled through Turkey to protest against the violence while delivering truckloads of food, medical aid and other supplies.
The Freedom Convoy, traveling toward the Turkish border, waved Syrian and Turkish flags, but were stopped about nine miles from the border; only a small group were permitted to cross the border gate of Oncupinar to negotiate the group's entry with Syrian authorities, The Associated Press reported.
The Syrian government said 'no' to medical supplies, 'no' to doctors who are going to go in and treat the wounded, and they said 'no' to food and miscellaneous (items) that we were going to take to Syria to help the towns that's under siege, Bilal Dalati, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy, said after Syrian officials denied the group entry.
Dalati, from Anaheim, Calif., said the group planned to make camp on the Turkish side of the border.
We will demonstrate here and we'll stay in camps until we find a way to bring the assistance products we brought for our people in Syria, said Orouba Barakat, who came from Abu Dhabi.
The United Nations estimates than more than 5,000 people have died in the 10-month-old uprising. Turkey, the Arab League and the U.S. have imposed a series of economic and financial sanctions on Syria.