The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, with the United States deciding to remove Ambassador Robert Ford from Syria to Washington due to “credible threats against his personal safety,” according to a US State Department official. In a press statement received by The Mideast Update via email, Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said Ford’s return date to Syria is unclear.
“At this point, we can’t say when he will return to Syria,” said Toner’s statement on Amb. Ford. “It will depend on our assessment of Syrian regime-led incitement and the security situation on the ground.”
The US has strongly condemned the ongoing violence by the Bashar al-Assad regime against Syrian protesters, which has killed thousands. Ford’s removal came as the US accused the Syrian government of a “campaign” against the US diplomat.
Said Toner, “We hope that the Syrian regime will end its incitement campaign against Ambassador Ford.”
Amb. Ford has made contacts with opposition forces in Syria, and the US has defended his presence in the country despite their disapproval of the Syrian authorities.
“Ambassador Ford’s presence is a benefit to our mission in Syria as he has worked diligently to deliver our message and be our eyes on the ground,” said Toner. “This decision was based solely on the need to ensure his safety, a matter we take extremely seriously.”
The US supported a recent United Nations Security Council proposal condemning the Syrian government’s actions, but the measure was vetoed down by the Russians and the Chinese. The US and the European Union have both enacted their own sanctions targeting the Syrian regime over the violence.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 24, 2011)