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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora