WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration says the U.S. ambassador and other diplomats must be allowed to travel throughout Syria to document a crackdown by a government trying to suppress its acts from international media, human rights monitors and foreign diplomats.
President Bashar Assad's government ordered diplomats not to leave the capital without permission Wednesday, two weeks after the U.S. and French ambassadors angered the regime by visiting the restive city of Hama.
State Department spokeswoman Heide Bronke Fulton said the order reflected a government that has something to hide. She said diplomats need to travel to assess the situation while reporters and rights activists are prevented from working in Syria.
Human rights groups say more than 1,600 people have been killed in four months of unrest.