Supporters of the Syrian government have stormed the US and French embassies in Damascus, prompting strong condemnation by the two countries' officials.
Witnesses describing Monday's assault said the attackers smashed windows and raised a Syrian flag at the US diplomatic compound and wrote anti-American graffiti referring to the US ambassador as a "dog".
A US official said the mob breached the wall of the embassy compound before being dispersed by Marine Corps guards.
No buildings were entered and there were no injuries to embassy personnel, but the chancery building was damaged and Syrian security forces were slow to respond, the official said.
Following the attack on the embassy, the residence of the US ambassador was attacked by a mob.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin notes that security in Syria is so tight that protesters would not have been able to get so close to the embassies without approval from the government. Click here to see a photo of the protesters scaling the walls of the US embassy.
In related news, Al Jazaeera also reports that Human Rights Watch official says interviews with defectors provide accurate and overwhelming evidence of massacres and that Syrian forces have been 'ordered to shoot protesters'.
Unless the protesters are in front of the US or French Embassies, that is; they surely would not be shoot because who will be left to throw the eggs and tomatoes?
TSB of The Skeptical Bureaucrat also covers this here.
Below is a note from Ambassador Robert Ford, posted in the embassy's FB page:
Outside the Embassy demonstrators complained about U.S. policy towards the Syrian government and my trip to Hama.Perhaps if we move the US Embassy temporarily to Hama, the Syrian forces will leave the protesters alone? Given that the Syrian security forces at its fastest response rate had the speed of the slowest creature on earth -- that's the slug at 0.03mph, it would be a while before the protesters in Hama, 209 kilometers from Damascus would see the
As I have said before, we respect the right of all Syrians – and people in all countries - to express their opinions freely and in a climate of mutual respect. We wish the Syrian government would do the same – and stop beating and shooting peaceful demonstrators. I have not seen the police assault a “mnhebak” demonstration yet. I am glad – I want all Syrians to enjoy the right to demonstrate peacefully. On July 9 a “mnhebak” group threw rocks at our embassy, causing some damage. They resorted to violence, unlike the people in Hama, who have stayed peaceful. Go look at the Ba’ath or police headquarters in Hama – no damage that I saw.
Other protesters threw eggs and tomatoes at our embassy. If they cared about their fellow Syrians the protesters would stop throwing this food at us and donate it to those Syrians who don’t have enough to eat. And how ironic that the Syrian Government lets an anti-U.S. demonstration proceed freely while their security thugs beat down olive branch-carrying peaceful protesters elsewhere.
The people in Hama have been demonstrating peacefully for weeks. Yes, there is a general strike, but what caused it? The government security measures that killed protesters in Hama. In addition, the government began arresting people at night and without any kind of judicial warrant. Assad had promised in his last speech that there would be no more arrests without judicial process. Families in Hama told me of repeated cases where this was not the reality. And I saw no signs of armed gangs anywhere – not at any of the civilian street barricades we passed.
Hama and the Syrian crisis is not about the U.S. at all. This is a crisis the Syrian people are in the process of solving. It is a crisis about dignity, human rights, and the rule of law. We regret the loss of life of all Syrians killed, civilians and security members both, and hope that the Syrian people will be able to find their way out of this crisis soon. Respect for basic human rights is a key element of the solution.