Assad angry over US envoy visit to Hama

Rick Moran
US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford paid a visit to the city of Hama, a hotbed of anti-government protests and the Syria government is none to happy about it:

A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the American envoy incited what were termed "saboteurs" into acts of violence, and called the visit "obvious proof" of a U.S. role in the anti-government upheaval that has wracked Syria since March.

The comments drew a sharp rejoinder from State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

"Absolute rubbish. The reason for his visit was to stand in solidarity with the right of the Syrian people to demonstrate peacefully, and that's what he did yesterday," said Nuland.

Nuland brushed aside a Syrian charge that Ford had gone to Hama without permission, saying the U.S. Embassy in Damascus told the Syrian Defense Ministry in advance that a U.S. delegation would be going to Hama, and that his motorcade passed through a military checkpoint to get there.

It's interesting that the Syrians didn't try to stop Ford from visiting Hama. Does it indicate that the Syrian government is losing its grip a bit? I imagine someone - or someone's - head is rolling over this, but what's one or two more bodies added to Assad's bloody account?



US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford paid a visit to the city of Hama, a hotbed of anti-government protests and the Syria government is none to happy about it:

A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the American envoy incited what were termed "saboteurs" into acts of violence, and called the visit "obvious proof" of a U.S. role in the anti-government upheaval that has wracked Syria since March.

The comments drew a sharp rejoinder from State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

"Absolute rubbish. The reason for his visit was to stand in solidarity with the right of the Syrian people to demonstrate peacefully, and that's what he did yesterday," said Nuland.

Nuland brushed aside a Syrian charge that Ford had gone to Hama without permission, saying the U.S. Embassy in Damascus told the Syrian Defense Ministry in advance that a U.S. delegation would be going to Hama, and that his motorcade passed through a military checkpoint to get there.

It's interesting that the Syrians didn't try to stop Ford from visiting Hama. Does it indicate that the Syrian government is losing its grip a bit? I imagine someone - or someone's - head is rolling over this, but what's one or two more bodies added to Assad's bloody account?