US Ambassador Pulls Out of Damascus, Srian Ambassador Recalled

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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In an anticipated move, Syria has ordered home its ambassador to the United States. The move came hours after the announcement from Washington that the U.S. ambassador to Syria had been withdrawn.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday the decision to recall Ambassador Robert Ford was based on ensuring his safety after he received what were called “credible threats.”

Ford has been an open critic of the Syrian government's violent crackdown on political dissent, which the United Nations says has killed 3,000 people since the uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in March.

U.S. officials say Ford left Damascus in recent days. It is not known when he will return. They called on the Syrian government to end its “incitement campaign” against the ambassador.

A spokesman for the Syrian government says its ambassador was recalled for consultations and that the embassy's charge d'affaires is replacing him. No further details were provided.

In July, the Syrian government issued an order restricting the movements of foreign ambassadors after Ford and the French ambassador visited the flashpoint city of Hama to show solidarity with residents there.

Last month, an angry mob confronted Ford as he prepared to meet a leading opposition figure in Damascus.