U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford testifies on “Crisis in Syria: The U.S. Response” before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2013. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/2013/206455.htm

Helping the Syrian People in Difficult Circumstances

Syrian refugees look out of a vehicle's window just after crossing the border from Syria to Turkey, in Cilvegozu, Turkey, December 20, 2012. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Robert S. Ford serves as U.S. Ambassador to Syria.

I am pleased to announce that I’ll be visiting the region this week with colleagues from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. We’ll visit Turkey and Jordan to see the conditions of Syrian refugees.

At the same time, we’ll sit with governments, international organizations and NGOs working to help the Syrian refugees.

I also hope to have the opportunity to meet with many Syrians and hear directly from them about their circumstances.

Last week, when I was in Jordan, I was watching television and I saw a report on Al Arabiya about a Syrian father and his daughter, a young child, who died from the bitter cold — a very tragic story that affected me deeply. I shared this story when I returned to Washington, and I think… more »

Message from Ambassador Ford on June 1, 2012

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This image shows a May 18, 2012 photo of a square in Tall Daww, Haoula in Syria side-by-side with a May 28, 2012 image of the same square. The dotted area in the May 28, 2012 image shows that the ground had been recently disturbed which tracks with the May 26 BBC image from the same location.

The May 25 massacre in the village of Tall Daww, Haoula is the most unambiguous indictment of the regime to date and clearly illustrates Syrian government’s flagrant violations of its UN Security Council obligations under Resolutions 2042 and 2043 along with the regime’s ongoing threat to peace and security. United Nations observers confirmed the deaths of more than 90 people, including at least 30 children under the age of 10, after the vicious assault involving tanks and artillery – weapons that only the regime possesses. There are also reports that many families were summarily executed in their homes by regime forces. We hold the Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives, and we encourage all countries to condemn the actions of the Asad regime.

To echo what Secretary Clinton said yesterday, the violent situation in Syria is a destabilizing force in the region. Russia continues to supply the Syrian military with arms. We all know that the Iranian regime’s interests are deeply embedded in the Assad regime’s survival – it is directly supporting the Syrian government through lethal and non-lethal means, and its revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) and intelligence services are coaching the Syrian military. The IRGC’s Qods force, which takes explicit instruction from the Iranian regime, appears to be helping set up the sectarian government-affiliated militias in Syria commonly referred to as the Shabiha. On the other hand, Syria’s neighbors like Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon are concerned about the role this conflict will play in their countries. Therefore, we call on the Syrian regime implement all other elements of Annan’s six-point plan so that a political process can begin to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. MORE