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US & French Embassies Attacked in Damascus

US & French Embassies Attacked in Damascus

Just days after the US and French ambassadors visited the city of Hama, both the US and French embassies in Damascus have both been attacked by supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier today, people smashed windows and raised a Syrian flag on the US diplomatic compound; they also scrawled graffiti saying that the US ambassador is a “dog,” Al Jazeera reports. US embassy official has condemned the response of Syrian officials to the attack by a “mob” as “slow and insufficient.” At the French embassy, security guards fired into the air to disperse a crowd of Assad supporters; three embassy staff members have reportedly been injured in the attack.

The US has accused Syrian state TV of encouraging the break-in, says the Guardian. France says that the attack on its embassy was “premediated.”

Photos of pro-Assad supporters scaling the walls of the US embassy can be seen at what appears to be a pro-Assad Facebook group and at the Arabic website, Day Press News and a video clip here.

As the BBC says, a US embassy official has said that “the real story in Syria was not the attack on the embassy, but the fact that the government continued to imprison, torture and kill citizens because they wanted to protest.” At least 1300 have been kiled in Syria and over 10,000 detained. :ast week, the US State Department summoned the Syrian ambassador about reports that Syrian diplomats had been videotaping and surveilling Syrians protesting Assad’s government at rallies in the US, and retaliating against their families in Syria.

Sunday was the first of two days of a “national dialogue” called for by Assad that is to be a “step towards multi-party democracy after five decades of Baath party rule.” The government has said that a number of reforms are to be discussed, including a new media law and “amending clause eight of the constitution which enshrines the leading role of the Baath party in Syrian political life” However, opposition members are boycotting the talks, saying that, unless security forces are withdrawn, a dialogue is “meaningless.”

On Sunday night, at least one person was killed in the city of Homs and at least 20 injured as troops armed with machine guns and tanks fired into neighborhoods. According to Al Jazeera, the assault on Homs, Syria’s third largest city, is the heaviest since Syrian troops stormed the city two months ago.

As of right now, the Syrian state news agency Sana has yet said anything about the raid on the embassies. As the Guardian reports,

…it has put out a release on the swearing in of a new governor of Hama – the city at the centre of incident.

The announcement was accompanied by what looks like a doctored image of Assad meeting his new man in Hama, Anas Abdul- Razzaq Na’em.

Look at Assad’s feet. [The image is posted on the Guardian.] It’s a strange image to chose from a regime accusing the western media of manipulating the facts.

It is an image that bears a bit of a resemblance to one in which three Chinese officials appear to be levitating.

It remains to be seen what Sana will “report” about the embassy attacks.

 

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Photo of pictures of Hafez al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, and eldest son Basil al-Assad by james.gordon6108

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11 comments

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2:26PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

If the government is trying to drive out any potential witnesses, it can only mean that they plan more bloodshed. Let's get some satellites trained on Syrian troop movements and let Assad know that we are hi-res recording his atrocities from orbit.

12:13PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Nothing wrong with the picture, take a ruler and check the lines of convergence. Bashir is a tall man.

Note the measured and sober response of the U.S. Ambassador. Our policy is neither naive or arbitrary, it is based on a willingness to deal with political reality which is very complex in Syria, a country of Sunni, Druze, Christian, Shia, Allawite, Kurds, Armenians and Turkmen. What kind of future leadership or coalition will be accepted in this chaotic landscape is a question for the adults in the room, please.

For all our problems with the Assads in the past (especially with Hafez), they were competent rulers and a modernizing force in Syria who allowed women a prominent place in society. Difficult to imagine a future Syria without the Allawites and their leaders having a part in it.

9:59AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

For all those "do-gooders" who are trying to get to Gaza, perhaps you should be concentrating on people who are facing real life and death problems like in Iran, Syria, and Libya.

You should take your flotillas and flights to those places! Chicken or just plain hypocrates?

You sit back in your nice comfortable home and preach to others or demonstrate in safe places like Israel to ease your post-colonial complex.

A post-colonial complex makes Western enlightenment systematically ignore injustices caused by anti-Western forces. Thus it loses the ability to see historic reality as a whole, in all its complexity. It also makes it act unfairly and unjustly. It discriminates between different kinds of evil, different kinds of blood and different kinds of victims. It treats third-world societies as though they are not subject to universal moral norms.

This explains why the radical left has taken the anti-liberal radical Islam as their bedmates.

8:10AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Shades of Orwell. It is interesting to note that the U.S. is always the single most popular target of protest in the middle east; hated, apparently, by both sides.

Shit, the things you have to put up with so the oil conglomerates can get rich.

7:22AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

A government at its worst.

2:47AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

These demonstrations have been orchestrated by the Assad regime.
It's high time he was removed and the Syrian people were given a taste of freedom and democracy. How they'll handle it is anyone's guess.

11:13PM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

I am not fully versed in Syrian politics and current issues.

Having said that, I am always wary of any government that displays HUGE posters of it's "great leaders"... to me this is indicative of some egotistic, dangerous authoritarian regime...

It's one thing to have "election" posters - it's another completely to have these creepy paintings constantly reminding you who is in charge...

10:46AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

thanks for sharing

10:21AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Thanks

9:57AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Wow I feel like I'm back in the 50's and 60's. Riots, of support for the government, are left to do as they will but anti government protests are squelched instantly.

We live in interesting times. I hope the brave men and women of the embassies stay safe and that all other foreign nationals have left Syria safely.

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