The United States has decided to pull Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, from the country amid "credible threats against his personal safety," a State Department official tells the Associated Press. "Ford has enraged Syrian authorities with his forceful defense of peaceful protests, and harsh critique of a government crackdown that has now killed nearly 3,000 people. Ford particularly angered Assad's regime in July when he was met by demonstrators in the restive city of Hama," the AP reports. After a September visit to pay condolences to the family of a human rights activists reportedly tortured and killed by the Syrian government, the ambassador "was then briefly trapped in his office by pro-Assad demonstrators after visiting an opposition figure and being pelted with eggs and tomatoes," the BCC reports. Ford made no friends among Syrian government officials with his critiques of President Bashar al-Assad, telling Reuters an interview last month that the leader was "losing support among key constituents and risked plunging Syria into sectarian strife by intensifying a military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators."
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