PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD LOYALISTS BREAK INTO U.S. EMBASSY COMPOUND IN DAMASCUS-DIPLOMATS IN SYRIAN CAPITAL
And getting worse per RanSquawk:
French Embassy guards fire live ammunition to repulse crowd loyal to president Assad on Embassy compound in Damascus
The United States accused Syria of having
organized an angry 31-hour protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus
over the weekend while the U.S. ambassador told the foreign minister
that such anti-American "incitement" must stop.
Syria earlier on
Sunday said it had summoned the envoys of the United States and France
in Damascus to protest their visit to the restive city of Hama last week
without clearance from the authorities.
The Hama visit by U.S.
Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier was a
"clear evidence of the American and French intervention in Syria's
internal affairs," Syria's news agency SANA quoted the foreign ministry
In Washington, the State Department said the Syrian
government chose to protest Ford's trip to Hama by organizing a a
protest outside the embassy that lasted 31 hours on Friday and Saturday
with protesters hurling tomatoes, eggs, glass and rocks.
Two embassy employees were struck by food, the department said in a written reply to queries.
The department said Ford registered U.S. displeasure with these events
in an already-scheduled Sunday meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister
It said the meeting had been requested by the U.S. Embassy and scheduled since Thursday.
"Ambassador Ford was not summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the State Department said.
Hama has been the site of some of the biggest demonstrations seeking to
oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He sent security forces back
into the city and ringed it with tanks this week.
Barack Obama has reacted gingerly so far to the protests in Syria, part
of a wave of unrest in the Arab world that toppled rulers in Egypt and
Tunisia and led to NATO involvement in a civil war in Libya.
Obama has said Assad must either lead reforms in Syria or get out of the
way. Ford's visit to Hama marked a symbolic strengthening of U.S.
support for peaceful protesters' goals and methods.
Moualem at the session
in Damascus on Sunday filed an official complaint with Ford regarding
his visit to Hama, the State Department said.
At the same
meeting, Ford "made clear that Syrian government incitement of Syrians
against the United States, including through aggressive protesters in
front of the embassy, must stop."
"The Syrian government must not
use his visit to Hama - meant only to gather information and support
freedom of expression - as propaganda," the department said.
called on the Syrian government to meet its responsibility under the
Vienna Convention to protect diplomats and diplomatic facilities, the