News / Middle East

Clinton Blasts 'Inexcusable Assault' on US Syria Envoy

A still image grab taken from the Syrian 'Addounia' pro-government television channel shows pro-regime Syrians attacking a US embassy vehicle in Damascus, September 29, 2011.
A still image grab taken from the Syrian 'Addounia' pro-government television channel shows pro-regime Syrians attacking a US embassy vehicle in Damascus, September 29, 2011.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned what she termed an “inexcusable assault” on the U.S. ambassador to Syria by a pro-regime crowd as he met an opposition figure Thursday in Damascus. Syria is blaming the United States for a violent turn in anti-government unrest.

The U.S.-Syrian relationship has taken a new downward turn, with the government of President Bashar Assad accusing Washington of inciting armed groups to violence, and a pro-regime crowd attacking U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford.

A jeering crowd of about 100 Syrians pelted the U.S. diplomat and aides with tomatoes and debris Thursday as they arrived for a visit in central Damascus with opposition figure Hassan Abdelazim.

The U.S. envoy took refuge in the Syrian politician’s office as the pro-regime crowd pounded on the door and later badly damaged U.S. embassy vehicles that were  sent to the scene.

Syrian police were said to have arrived after more than an hour’s delay and escorted Ford and his colleagues, all uninjured, back to the embassy.

It was the second incident of its kind in less than three months, following a mob attack on the U.S. mission in July, and it drew an angry response from the Obama administration.

At a press event with Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, Secretary Clinton condemned what she termed a “wholly unjustified” attempt to intimidate U.S. diplomats through violence.

“This inexcusable assault is clearly part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation aimed at not only American diplomats but diplomats from other countries,  foreign observers, who are raising questions about what’s going on inside Syria," said Clinton. "It reflects an intolerance on the part of the regime and its supporters, and it is deeply regrettable."

The Obama administration has resisted calls from Congress to withdraw Ambassador Ford to protest the Syrian crackdown on demonstrators that U.N. human rights officials say has killed more than 2700 people since March.

U.S. officials say in the absence of international media and human rights monitors in Syria, Ford is risking personal harm to monitor events and maintain contacts with the Syrian opposition.

Clinton called the veteran U.S. diplomat a “vital advocate” for the aspirations of a people “under siege” by the Assad government, and she urged the U.S. Senate to confirm Ford, who is in Syria on a temporary White House appointment.

The attack on Ford coincided with new Syrian charges that the United States is inciting armed groups to violence against security forces.

The Syrian foreign ministry singled out Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner for saying earlier this week that recently reported incidents of violent resistance were “unfortunately a natural development”  in the face of regime “brutality.”

Toner told reporters Thursday the Syrian charge is an attempt by the Damascus government to deflect responsibility.

“It’s another attempt by the Syrian government to make this about us versus them, when it really is about the Syrian government against its own people," said Toner. "And it’s really about the courage and determination of the Syrian people who continue to stand up day after day to express their universal rights, in the face of ongoing brutality and violence.”

News reports have suggested that deserters from the Syrian security forces and other armed opponents have staged attacks on army units trying to quell protests in remote parts of the country.

However, Toner said the broad majority of Assad government opponents appear committed to non-violent resistance, and also oppose calls for Libya-style outside military intervention in Syria.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More