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Government Loyalists In Syria Attack U.S., French Embassies

Witnesses say Syrian pro-government protesters have attacked the U.S. and French embassy compounds in Damascus, causing damage.

The witnesses said the protesters smashed windows and raised a Syrian flag on the U.S. embassy compound today. They also wrote anti-U.S. graffiti referring to the U.S. ambassador as a "dog," before leaving the premises.

Government loyalists also clashed with security guards as they tried to force their way into the French embassy building. The Reuters news agency reported that guards protecting the embassy fired live ammunition to repel attackers.

The protests were over visits by the U.S. and French ambassadors last week to the opposition stronghold of Hama in central Syria.

The western diplomats' visit to Hama came amid a crackdown by security forces against antigovernment protesters in the city.

Reports say some 1,400 protesters have been killed in Syria since demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad's rule began in mid-March.

compiled from agency reports