US brushes off Syrian complaint over envoy trip

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 6:13 PM
US brushes off Syrian complaint over envoy trip

The Obama administration is brushing off a complaint by Syrian authorities that the U.S. ambassador violated their travel rules by leaving the capital this week without permission.

The State Department says the Syrian foreign ministry registered concern over Robert Ford's trip Tuesday from Damascus to the village of Jassem, where he met opposition activists.

The U.S. says the Syrians have denied previous travel requests and complained when Ford made this trip without asking.

The State Department said Wednesday it was not clear whether Syria would take action against him. Ford could be expelled or face further travel restrictions.

The U.S. has maintained diplomatic relations with Syria despite protesting President Bashar Assad's efforts to crush the 5-month-old uprising against him. The Obama administration said last week that Assad should step down.