U.S. Syria Envoy Posts Satellite Image on Facebook to Prove Regime Violence

Robert Ford posted image days after U.S. embassy in Damascus closed; picture has labels pointing to burning buildings, smoke, impact craters, military vehicles, armored vehicles.

The U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, just days after closing the embassy in Damascus, posted satellite imagery on Facebook to show proof of government attacks on residential neighborhoods.

The commercial satellite image, titled "Security Operations Escalate in Homs," is dated Feb. 6 and has labels pointing out burning buildings, smoke, impact craters, military vehicles and armored vehicles.

ford - AP - June 20 2011

The western Syrian city of Homs, where opposition to President Bashar Assad is strong, has endured a week of bombardments that have killed dozens of civilians and drawn condemnation from world leaders.

Syrian state media have portrayed the revolt against Assad as the work of foreign-backed "terrorist."

It is not easy for an untrained eye to see the details in the satellite image posted on Thursday night on the Facebook page

"I hear the devastating stories about newborns in Homs dying in hospitals where electricity has been cut and when we see disturbing photos offering proof that the regime is using mortars and artillery against residential neighborhoods, all of us become even more concerned about the tragic outcome for Syrian civilians," Ambassador Robert Ford wrote in a note accompanying the satellite image on Facebook.

He also appeared to take a veiled dig at Russia, which on Saturday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria.

Diplomats said one Russian objection was a belief that the resolution disproportionately blamed Syria's government for the violence.

"It is odd to me that anyone would try to equate the actions of the Syrian army and armed opposition groups since the Syrian government consistently initiates the attacks on civilian areas, and it is using its heaviest weapons," Ford wrote.

The United States closed its embassy in Damascus on Monday, the same day the imagery was dated, due to security concerns.