US summons Syria envoy over embassy riots
Washington: The United States summoned
Syria's charge d'affaires on Tuesday, accusing Damascus of failing
to meet its international obligations after angry mobs
besieged the US and French embassies.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described
those storming the US embassy -- for the second time in three
days -- as "thugs" and said they had been "chased off" by US
"The charge will be called here. (Syria) has not lived
up to its international obligations," Nuland said, explaining
that the Syrian ambassador was on vacation or he would have
Tensions have been escalating for months between
Damascus and Washington over the Syrian government's fierce
response to pro-democracy protests that erupted in mid-March.
US officials accuse President Bashar al-Assad's regime
of orchestrating the embassy protests for propaganda purposes
and to punish the French and American ambassadors for visiting
the flashpoint city of Hama last week.
US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford complained to the
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem yesterday about the lack
of protection at the embassy after the first egg- and
food-throwing protests kicked off on Friday.
The foreign ministry in Paris said three French staff
were wounded in today's embassy attack. As Syrian security
forces looked on, Assad supporters smashed their way into the
compound with a battering ram, broke windows and destroyed the
ambassador's car, according to a spokesman in Paris.
A US official said "no staff were injured" at the
Human rights groups say that Assad's security forces
have killed more than 1,300 civilians and made at least 12,000
arrests since protests against Assad's regime erupted in