Officials in Damascus claimed the visit by Robert Ford was a provocation, which added weight to its claims that the US was working to undermine President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.Assad would much prefer that the world never learn what tactics and methods he's using to crush the opposition, and Hama remains an ongoing flashpoint.
"The presence of the US ambassador in Hama without previous permission is obvious proof of a clear evidence of the United States' involvement in current events in Syria and its attempt to incite an escalation in the situation, which disturbs Syria's security and stability," the Syrian foreign ministry said.
The US state department said in response that its embassy had advised the foreign ministry that diplomats would travel to Hama on Wednesday: "The fundamental intention was to make absolutely clear with his physical presence that we stand with those Syrians who are expressing their right to speak for change," it said.
We've seen reports of former Syrian military snipers claiming that they were ordered to fire on unarmed crowds. We've seen reports of teens beaten by security forces once they've been taken into custody.
Syrian forces continue to ring the city, and mass arrests have once again been carried out. At least 80 more people were wounded in clashes.
Protests continue in Homs as well as other cities throughout the country.
Assad will never understand that the provocation for the protests is Assad's own despotic regime whose only method of remaining in power is the brutal use of force - and his countrymen are sick and tired of the regime.
Even the UN is slowly moving towards something more than a weak-worded statement, but it hasn't taken action to bring charges against the regime for crimes against humanity for its ongoing crackdown.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called once again on Syrian authorities to stop their crackdown on protesters and to allow access for the UN to assess the humanitarian situation in the country.UPDATE:
The Secretary-General told reporters in Geneva that the killings "must stop," adding "we cannot go on like this." He also called on the Syrian leadership to deliver on its commitments and allow access for a UN humanitarian assessment team and a human rights fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council.
The New York Times reports that Assad's regime is furious and is even claiming that Ford met with saboteurs during his visit to Hama. The regime says that the ambassador met with saboteurs in Hama who, it said, “erected checkpoints, cut traffic and prevented citizens from going to work. The ambassador incited these saboteurs to violence, to demonstrate and to refuse dialogue.”
Hundreds of thousands of people are saboteurs? Peaceful demonstrators are the threat to the regime, so it tries to paint every last one as a foreign agent, saboteur, and therefore a legitimate target for attacks - which it continues to do throughout the country with limited results since the protests keep on coming.