US, Europe angered by Syrian attacks on US, France embassies


Syria is on brink of civil war

The UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the attacks against the U.S. and French embassies in Syria’s capital and called on Bashar Assad’s government to meet its international responsibility to protect diplomatic missions.

The White House on Tuesday condemned the attacks on the U.S. embassy and its ambassador’s residence in Syria’s capital of Damascus as “not acceptable,” while reiterating that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has “lost legitimacy.” The United States, after weeks of urging Syria to carry out democratic reforms and end a brutal crackdown, has now turned decisively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying that he has lost legitimacy and that Washington no longer interested in Mr. Assad staying on power.

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Syrian pro-government mobs attacked US embassy, raised Syrian flag

France condemned assaults on its embassy in the Syrian capital, saying they “blatantly violated” international laws. “(France) reminds (Syria) that it is not with such illegal methods that the authorities in Damascus will turn the attention away from the fundamental problem, which is to stop the repression of the Syrian population and to launch democratic reform,” French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement. “The relationship between France and Syria has reached a new low.”

French allies, the United Kingdom and Germany, angrily responded to the embassy attacks. Britain said the Syrian authorities have failed to discharge their responsibility under international law to protect diplomatic missions. The United Kingdom, one of the most influential countries in the EU, will now press for further EU sanctions against Syria.

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Aftermath of the attack

Germany said on Tuesday it would push for a UN Security Council resolution against Syria over the crackdown, after France complained to it over the attacks. “We should not forget: hundreds of thousands normal people, young people demonstrating for their own freedom,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

France’s neighbor Switzerland said it has frozen $31.8 million worth of assets linked to the Syrian regime, its latest move in a string of financial actions against dictatorships shaken by regional civil unrest. Switzerland stated that all Swiss bank accounts held by Syrian governments would be blocked.

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UK, France, Germany want Syria punished

On the other hand, Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari accused the United States and France of distorting and exaggerating the facts surrounding Monday’s demonstrations outside their embassies and insisted that Syrian law enforcement authorities “made every effort to ensure the safety of those embassies.”

“My government is fully committed to protecting embassies and diplomatic personnel in accordance with the Vienna Convention of 1961,” he said.

Hundreds of Syrian government supporters attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday, the mobs smashed windows, raised a Syrian flag over the embassy, and scrawled graffiti calling the American ambassador a “dog”. Some of them were able to climb onto the roof, and several security cameras knocked out. Fruits, vegetables and other things were also thrown at the building. Security forces had stood by and watched while the crowds hurled rocks and swarmed the U.S. Embassys gates.

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Syrian president Bashar al-Assad

Three staff at the French embassy in Damascus were wounded when a pro-government mob stormed the building, forcing guards to fire three warning shots, the French foreign ministry said. Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad smashed their way into the compound with a battering ram, broke windows and destroyed the ambassador’s car, according to the embassy spokesman. Syrian police and security forces stood aside and did nothing much.

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Syria is the latest country to be hit by the Arab spring. The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that has been taking place in the Arab world, motivated by the realization of Arab youths on how lagged behind they are vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and the intention to ‘regain for Arabs their rightful place in the world’.

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