WASHINGTON - The U.N. Security Council demanded today that the Syrian government protect diplomats and their property.
All 15 council members, including China, Russia and Syria's neighbor Lebanon, agreed to "condemn in the strongest terms the attacks against embassies in Damascus which have resulted in damage to embassy premises and injuries to diplomatic personnel."
This follows yesterday's attack on the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus by mobs loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
They threw tomatoes, eggs and rocks and smashed windows. The attacks were payback after the U.S. and French ambassadors showed support last week for anti-government protesters.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley asked President Obama today about the attacks on the U.S. embassy.
"Yesterday the U.S. embassy in Damascus was attacked by a mob," Pelley said. "I wonder what you say to the dictator in Syria?"
"Well, you know, we've been very clear that what we've seen on the part of the Syrian regime has been an unacceptable degree of brutality, directed at its people," Mr. Obama said. "We've certainly sent a clear message that nobody can be messing with our embassy. And that we will take whatever actions necessary in order to protect our embassy. And I think they've gotten that message."
"But more broadly," Mr. Obama continued, "I think that increasingly you're seeing President Assad lose legitimacy in the eyes of his people. And that's why we've been working at an international level, to make sure that we keep the pressure up -- to see if we can bring some real change in Syria."
For its part, the Syrian government is complaining about U.S. interference in its internal affairs. Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian U.N. Ambassador, insisted today that Syrian law enforcement authorities "made every effort to ensure the safety of those embassies."