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Senate approves US ambassador to Syria
Kerry: Senate approval of US ambassador to Syria sends 'tough message' to Assad government
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman says approval of diplomat Robert Ford to be U.S. ambassador to Syria sends a "tough message" to Bashar Assad's government.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts says Ford represents U.S. solidarity with the Syrian people. Ford's nomination won unanimous Senate approval Monday night.

He had been in Syria since January after being appointed to the post temporarily when the Senate was out of session.

Last week, Ford and several colleagues from the embassy were pelted with tomatoes and eggs as they visited an opposition figure.

U.S. officials said the assault was part of a campaign to intimidate diplomats looking into Assad's repression of pro-reform demonstrators.

Kerry says Ford "continues courageously to visit cities under military siege and speak truth to power."

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