An imagined depiction of Robert Ford in a tomato fight.
This Robert Ford is no coward. (Get it?)
The US ambassador to Syria was met by a mob of pro-regime protesters who reportedly threw tomatoes as he entered an office for a meeting in Damascus on Thursday.
The angry mob of about 100 people “were protesting in the street and at the entrance to the building. They tried to break down the door of my office, but didn’t succeed,” Hassan Abdelazim, an opposition figure meeting with Ford, told AFP.
Ambassador Ford was holed up inside the office for two hours before security forces arrived and he could return safely to the US embassy, Abdelazim added.
The US embassy confirmed his return in a brief statement to AFP, saying, “He is back and he is fine.”
Ford has been an outspoken critic of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is one reason the US Senate should confirm him as Syrian ambassador. As Max Boot writes for the LA Times:
“A different sort of diplomat might have stood on the sidelines or delivered mealy-mouthed official demarches. Not Ford. He has traveled across the country in spite of the government’s attempts to restrict his movements. He has met with opposition leaders and spoken out forcefully against Assad’s repression. Just last week he was at the funeral of a prominent human rights activist before it was attacked by security forces. The U.S. Embassy has been assaulted and Ford has been threatened with death, but he has not desisted.”