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.”
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in Syrian political life” However, opposition members are boycotting the talks, saying that, unless security forces are withdrawn, a dialogue is “meaningless.”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