News / Middle East

UN Security Council Condemns Damascus Embassy Attacks

Syrian soldiers and police members secure the area near the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, July 12, 2011.
Syrian soldiers and police members secure the area near the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, July 12, 2011.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned Monday’s attacks by demonstrators on the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus, amid continued sharp exchanges between the United States and Syria. U.S. officials have credited Syria with tightening embassy security.

The U.N. Security Council, in a written statement, condemned the embassy attacks “in the strongest terms” and called on Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic property and personnel.

Crowds of pro-government Syrian demonstrators scaled the walls of the U.S. and French embassies Monday, breaking windows and security equipment, and spray-painting slogans.

U.S. and French officials said the attacks were officially inspired.  Syria maintains they were spontaneous actions by crowds upset by visits last week by the two countries’ ambassadors to Hama, a center of protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The attacks prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to say that Mr. Assad has “lost legitimacy” and is not indispensable.

Those comments were echoed Tuesday by White House Spokesman Jay Carney, who said the Syrian President had “passed up” an opportunity to lead a democratic transition in his country, and that his loss of legitimacy is a matter of “factual analysis.” “It doesn’t matter nearly as much that he’s lost legitimacy in our eyes. This is a matter of an analysis that he has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people who are increasingly demanding change. There’s really a growing consensus among the Syrian people that this transition needs to take place, and that President Assad is not going to lead it," he said.

The Syrian state news agency said the Clinton remarks, reiterated by the White House, were further proof of what was termed “fragrant intervention” by the United States in Syrian affairs.

Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, accused the United States and France of hypocrisy - in condoning anti-government protests in Syria while labeling pro-government demonstrators thugs.

“The two ambassadors of these countries have preached, around the clock, their governments’ encouragement to the demonstrators to demonstrate peacefully in Syria as long as these peaceful demonstrations were addressed against the government. But when these demonstrators demonstrate in front of their embassies in Damascus, because of the interference of their two ambassadors in our internal affairs in the city of Hama, then these demonstrators become thugs and mobs," he said.

The Syrian envoy, speaking after the Security Council meeting on the embassy attacks, said authorities in Damascus had done all they could to protect the missions, and said that a number of demonstrators had been detained for questioning in the incidents.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. embassy was back in operation Tuesday with an increased Syrian security presence in the area.

“We have been able, working with the Syrians, to upgrade security, get some of the repairs made that needed to be made, particularly with regard to windows and cameras and those things. The Syrians returned the American flag that had been taken down yesterday. We in turn returned the Syrian flag that had on our gates," she said.

Nuland said U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford met with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad Tuesday and that the conversation had a “much more collaborative tone” than previous contacts.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs