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The U.S. is one man down in the Middle East-- as U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is withdrawn from the Middle-Eastern nation. Fox News has more.
“Robert Ford is leaving the country, apparently due to major security concerns now in the capitol city of Damascus. Syria has also been dealing with heavy anti-government protests in recent months, which has led to several civilian deaths.”
The BBC reports, Ford may have made some enemies in Syria.
“The authorities in Damascus have strongly criticized Mr. Ford for meeting with Syrian opposition figures.”
The BBC goes on to explain, this isn’t the first time Ford has been threatened...
“Last month, Mr. Ford and colleagues were pelted with eggs and tomatoes when visiting an opposition figure. He was then briefly trapped in his office by pro-Assad demonstrators.”
Last year, Ford became the first ambassador to Syria in five years- a controversy in itself. His departure has CNN anchor Max Foster asking-- should the U.S. even have an ambassador in Syria?
“There are Republicans who didn’t want an ambassador going back into Syria because it didn’t want to seem to be supporting it in any way, and it is, under the state department rules, still seen as a state sponsor of terrorism. But at the same time it’s a crucial player in that region, so a lot of Democrats and other people around the world want to see a U.S. presence there because they say, let’s try to deal with them anyway, let’s try to find out what is their thinking.”
So what’s next for the U.S.-- Syria - and Ambassador Ford? Al Jazeera reports -
“[U.S. State Department spokesman Mark] Toner said the U.S. embassy will remain open in Damascus and that the threats were specifically directed toward Ford. He added that Ford's return to Damascus would depend on a US ‘assessment of Syrian regime-led incitement and the security situation on the ground.’”
CNN reports Ford has been outspoken about Syria’s crackdown on anti-government protesters. According to the UN, more than 3,000 people - mostly unarmed demonstrators - have been killed since those protests began.
Transcript by Newsy.