Al-Shlash said, according to BusinessInsider: “Let me issue a warning. We cannot vouch for this man’s safety if he so much as sets foot on the threshold of Deir Al-Zour.”
He referred to a cousin who promised an unkindly end to the emissary if he arrived in the Syrian community: “We are known for having the best mutton in the world. For the first time, Allah willing, we will be eating American mutton. Whether his flesh is bitter or not, with salt or without salt—we will eat him up.”
Digital Journalist Sam Halaby, of Arabic background, points out the leader’s use of “ry7een néklo” doesn’t necessarily mean that he would literally consume the ambassador. “It can be taken out of context….and can mean ‘I am going to feed you a beating!.'”
The Syrian tribal leader also told media: “That man, sitting in his embassy… I don’t get it. Who does he think he is—Christopher Columbus, exploring the area here?”
Ford has been the U.S. ambassador in Syria since January 2011. He also served as United States Ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008 and is a veteran member of the U.S. Foreign Service.