Now comes word that Syrian diplomats in the US were filming and photographing protesters in the US.
The Syrian ambassador was summoned on Wednesday by Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell after reports emerged that employees of the Syrian Embassy videotaped and still-photographed demonstrators in front of the embassy.Bashar al Assad is stopping at nothing to try and retain power, and will go so far as to intimidate protesters in the US to do so.
"We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador Mustapha’s authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
"The United States Government takes very seriously reports of any foreign government actions attempting to intimidate individuals in the United States who are exercising their lawful right to freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution," she said.
"We are also investigating reports that the Syrian government has sought retribution against Syrian family members for the actions of their relatives in the United States exercising their lawful rights in this country and will respond accordingly," Nuland added.
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford also made waves in recent days when he decided to visit the city of Hama in Syria, this time without being accompanied by any Syrian officials, who registered a complaint over the incident.
Ambassador Ford was apparently well received by the residents of Hama:
The video further shows that the crowds continue massing in protest against Assad's regime and shows no sign of letting up despite the brutal crackdown that has left more than 1,500 dead and thousands injured and tens of thousands detained.
Security forces have killed at least 15 people and arrested more than 200 people in Syria, activists say, as Human Rights Watch denounced a "deliberate policy" to disperse protesters with deadly force.Assad has got to go, and it is well past time for the UN to refer the matter to the ICC for crimes against humanity.
The deaths came as Damascus accused the US envoy of inciting violence in Hama - where nearly half a million people protested on Friday - a charge roundly denied by Washington, which accused the Syrian embassy of spying on demonstrators in the United States.
Opposition activists reported five deaths on Friday in the central city of Homs, two in the capital's commercial neighbourhood Medan, and six in the Dmeir area, east of Damascus.
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Security forces machine-gunned protesters at Maaret al-Numan in the northwest, killing one and wounding five, an activist said.
Soldiers also fired at a family car on the Hama-Aleppo road near Maaret al-Numan, killing a man and wounding his wife and two daughters, the activist added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces had also arrested more than 200 people across the country on Friday, more than half of them in Homs.