Syria Denies Wrongdoing, Blames Foreign Countries

By Staff | April 13, 2011 | 5:47 AM EDT

A pro-reform activist holds an Arabic placard reading, "No to violence, no to oppression and no to fanaticism", as she stands in front of the Syrian embassy, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday April 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Beirut (AP) - Syria is denying that its security forces prevented medical staff from reaching the wounded in towns were troops clashed with protesters last week.

An Interior Ministry statement on Wednesday says the allegations are "baseless." It says unidentified gunmen shot at people, and prevented ambulances from transporting the wounded to hospitals.

Human Rights Watch had said Syrian forces prevented the ambulances from helping the injured last Friday in the southern town of Daraa and in Harasta, near Damascus.

President Bashar Assad's regime blames the violence during past weeks of anti-government protests that have gripped Syria on "armed gangs" paid by foreign countries.