HUMAN shield Antoinette McCormick was today leaving Baghdad for Syria after being told she could no longer stay on her tourist visa.

But the 38-year-old told the Evening Press by phone from the Hotel Palestine she intended getting a shield visa when she reached Damascus and return if possible to the Iraqi capital.

Antoinette, whose elderly parents John and Mairi live in Huntington Road, York, said she was facing a 12-hour bus journey across the desert to Syria - the route on which a busload of civilians was accidentally bombed several days ago.

She said she had again stayed last night at a power plant in Baghdad in her continuing bid to deter Allied bombing.

She said that until yesterday, she had been given complete freedom of movement by the Iraqi authorities, and had spoken to many Baghdad residents, who had all been friendly towards her.

She believed there would be firm resistance by civilians, "even kids," to any American or British invasion of the city.

"If people think the Americans are going to be welcomed with flowers, they have got it wrong," she claimed.

Mrs McCormick was concerned about her daughter's safety on the journey. "I would sooner she came home," she said.