AMMAN, Sept 22 President Bashar al-Assad is
losing support among key constituents and risks plunging Syria
into sectarian strife by intensifying a bloody crackdown on
pro-democracy demonstrators, the U.S. ambassador to Damascus
said on Thursday.
Time is against Assad, Robert Ford told Reuters in a
telephone interview from Damascus, citing the resilience of more
than six months of what he described as overwhelmingly peaceful
demonstrations demanding more political freedoms.
Ford said there was economic malaise in Syria, signs of
dissent within Assad's Alawite minority sect and more defections
from the army since mid-September, but the military is "still
very powerful and very cohesive".
(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom)