Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, has traveled to the city of Hama to express solidarity with residents protesting the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hama has been a focal point of the nation's political unrest, with the situation escalating this week as tanks surround the city.
The central city of Hama has been one of the centers of the movement against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
This week, tanks moved to the outskirts of the city, raising concerns of a military assault.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that the United States is "greatly concerned" about the situation in Hama. She said the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, had gone to the city to express solidarity with protesters.
Nuland said Ambassador Ford was in Hama Thursday on his own trip, and is not being hosted by the Syrian government. But she said the embassy did inform the government that a delegation would be heading to the city.
Nuland said Ford met with a dozen people in a visit designed to show solidarity with protesters. She said Ford hopes to stay until Friday.
Syria has condemned the visit, accusing the U.S. of attempting to incite anti-government sentiment ahead of more protests planned for Friday.
The Syrian foreign ministry said Thursday that Ford's presence in Hama without prior permission constitutes “clear evidence” of a U.S. attempt to “increase tension and damage Syria's security and stability.”