Robert Ford was U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 2011-2014. He is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington.
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The sectarian human rights abuses and actions to undermine the democratic structures being put in place were known to us, yet we proved powerless to act. On this 20th anniversary, many are looking for lessons in America’s actions. But what remains inexplicable is that many knew at the time what the issues were.
As protests against the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad grew in the early 2010s, the then-US ambassador to Syria. Robert Ford, met with two opposition leaders seeking American support for their causes. Razan Zaitouneh and Colonel Akaidi understood how the Syrian revolution would go.