The United States told its ambassador to Syria to leave the country because of fears for his safety following more anti-American incitement and several attacks on his residence.
Western diplomats told Reuters that Robert Ford, who was sent to Damascus after President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic contacts with Syria, fled the country on Saturday. The State Department has not commented.
State-run media have published more anti-American articles
The U.S. State Department took a pro-regime stance during the initial uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad several months ago, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling him a “reformer.”
A month later she joined a growing majority of leaders, calling for him to stop killing civilians, at least 3,000 of whom have been murdered during continuing demonstrations..
Ford placed himself in danger in July when he traveled to Hama, and Deraa, two centers of anti-Assad protests. He later paid a condolence call on the home of a protest leader who was arrested and apparently tortured to death by Assad’s soldiers and goon squads.
His departure spells another failure for Obama’s foreign policy. His predecessor, George W. Bush, cut off relations with Syria approximately six years ago, but President Obama went Ford to Syria as part of his “engagement” policy towards Iran and Syria.