DAMASCUS, Syria, April 26 (UPI) -- Syrian officials announced Tuesday they were opening a legal investigation into foreign media outlets it said were instigating violence in the country.
Syria isn't allowing foreign journalists into the country during a period of heightened political unrest. Foreign media outlets such as CNN and al-Jazeera are relying on amateur video and unverified accounts to report on the conflicts in Syria.
The BBC aired video Tuesday showing tanks patrolling the streets of Syria as anti-government groups continue to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad. Assad in recent weeks sacked his entire Cabinet, dismantled a controversial security service and lifted a state of emergency enacted in the 1960s.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement called on Assad to order his security forces to stand down.
"I condemn utterly any violence and killings perpetrated by the Syrian security forces against civilians who are expressing their views in peaceful protests," Hague said. "This violent repression must stop."
The narrative provided from the official Syrian Arab News Agency differs, however. SANA has reported that armed thugs and foreign elements are responsible for much of the unrest in the country.
The news agency Tuesday reported that the country's bar association asked a legal committee to examine possible crimes allegedly committed by Arab and international media outlets. SANA said they are accused of instigating acts in Syria that could destabilize the country.
"The committee has begun collecting evidence and documents to support the lawsuits in front of the international and national competent courts against those who had made the unfair acts," the report stated.