Damascus (Syria), 11 July 2011. An angry mob of pro-Assad protestors attacked the French and US embassies as well as the US ambassadors residence in Damascus today.
While some Syrian media reported about the countries participation in a tourist fair in Oman or about the raising of the largest national flag, an angry crowd of pro-Assad protestors smashed windows on the US embassy and sprayed graffiti on its walls. Rising tensions between Washington and Damascus as well as ambassador Robert Stephen Ford’s visit to the beleaguered city om Hama last week were the causes for the demonstrations. Ambassador Ford had also criticized the Syrian government because of its harsh treatment of anti-government protestors.
A government-influenced TV station “encouraged this violent demonstration”, according to an embassy source. The embassy buildings “sustained some physical damage, but no staff was injured and there was no imminent danger, although the Syrian government was slow to respond,” the same source went on.
Also today, French embassy security was forced to fire warning shots to hold back the mob. Again windows were smashed, an embassy car was damaged and graffiti was sprayed. The Tricolore was removed and replaced by a Syrian flag. French ambassador Eric Chevallier visited Hama together with his US counterpart Ford on Friday.
Although the Syrian government showed no reluctance so far to crack down on anti-Assad demonstrations with troops and tanks, the pro-Assad mobs of the “mnhebak” (we love you) movement are allowed to express their anger without too much interference.
(Sources: DayPress; 11 July 2011)