Monday, July 11, 2011

Syrian Protestors Attack U.S and French Embassy In Damascus

EIRUT - Syrian government supporters smashed windows at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus on Monday, raised a Syrian flag and scrawled graffiti calling the American ambassador a "dog" in anger over the envoy's visit to an opposition stronghold, witnesses said.

French Embassy guards in the Syrian capital fired in the air to hold back loyalists of President Bashar Assad's regime who also attacked that compound to protest the French ambassador's visit last week to the same restive city, Hama, in central Syria. Protesters smashed embassy windows and shattered the windshield of a diplomatic SUV outside the compound. The French Foreign Ministry said three embassy workers were injured.

Both the U.S. and France accused Syrian security forces of being too slow to respond to the attacks. And France said Syria was not living up to its international commitments to protect diplomatic missions and allow envoys freedom of movement.

"The people want to kick out the dog," read graffiti written on the wall of the U.S. embassy, along with another line cursing America. The protesters smashed the embassy sign hanging over one gate.

Assad's regime called the French and American ambassadors' visits to Hama last week interference in the country's internal affairs and accused the envoys of undermining Syria's stability.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford on Thursday visited Hama where he was greeted by friendly crowds who put flowers on his windshield and olive branches on his car, chanting: "Down with the regime!" The State Department said the trip was to support the right of Syrians to demonstrate peacefully.

The protests erupted after Ford harshly criticized the Syrian government's crackdown on a popular uprising that has raged over the past four months.

The U.S. said no embassy personnel were hurt in the melee and there was no immediate word on any other casualties.

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