US ambassador has left Syria, embassy confirms

Updated: 2011-10-24 18:25


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DAMASCUS - US Ambassador Robert Ford left Syria Saturday for a "two-week vacation," a second secretary at the US embassy in Syria's capital of Damascus said Monday.

John Shehan told Xinhua by phone that the ambassador went on vacation. The secretary stopped short of confirming some media reports suggesting that Ford left the country for security concerns.

On Friday, Ford was hit with eggs and tomatoes while he was visiting the central Midan neighborhood of Damascus.

Ford has visited many restive areas in Syria recently in a show of support to anti-government protestors. But the visits angered many residents in those areas, as well as the government that considered his visits as flagrant interference in Syrian affairs.

Syria has been plagued by unrest since mid-March when protests against President Bashar Assad's government erupted. More than 3,000 people including army and security members have been killed in the turmoil, according to figures released by the United Nations.