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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid