In DAMASCUS: An angry mob stormed the US embassy in the Syrian capital on Monday, after Washington’s ambassador visited the flashpoint city of Hama, a hub for protests against President Bashar al-Assadâs regime.
Today there was an attack by a mob on the US embassy, a US embassy official told AFP, adding that no embassy personnel were injured although the Syrian authorities were slow in providing additional security measures.
The official said the embassy sustained some physical damage and that the crowd then moved on to the ambassadors residence.
Opposition protests were also staged overnight in several towns against Sundays opening of a national dialogue hailed by the regime but boycotted by the opposition, rights activists said.
Monday’s embassy attack comes four days after US Ambassador Robert Ford visited the central city of Hama, 210 kilometres (130 miles) north of Damascus, sparking outrage in the capital.
The embassy official said no staff were injured on Monday and were never in eminent danger, although the Syrian government was slow to respond with extra security measures that were needed.
The Syrian government has assured us that it will provide the protection required under the Vienna Convention and we expect it to do so.
He added that a Syrian television channel had encouraged this violent demonstration, which followed protests at the embassy on Friday and Saturday calling for the ambassador’s resignation.
A senior US official on Sunday accused Damascus of orchestrating the protests over Fords trip to Hama, which the authorities slammed as a â€œflagrant interference in Syria’s domestic affairs.
Ford and his French counterpart Eric Chevallier both visited Hama on Thursday amid fears of a bloody crackdown after Friday prayers the next day by Assada’s forces, with tanks encircling the city.
France on Sunday summoned Syria’s envoy to Paris Lamia Shakkour over damage done to the French embassy in Damascus and a consulate in Aleppo on Saturday after Chevallier’s trip to Hama.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppes cabinet chief called her to the foreign ministry to receive vigorous protest, ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement.
Tensions have been escalating for months between Damascus and Washington over the Syrian governments fierce response to opposition protests that erupted in mid-March, seeking to oust Assad.
Human rights groups say that since the protests broke out, the security forces have killed more than 1,300 civilians and made at least 12,000 arrests.
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