The U.S. ambassador to Syria on Friday got a boisterous welcome in the restive city of Hama, where demonstrators poured onto the streets and draped his vehicle with flowers and olive branches, according to video from the scene.

The Syrian government condemned the visit by Ambassador Robert Ford, with state-run media citing an “official source” at the Foreign Ministry calling it proof that the United States was seeking to incite violence — a charge State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland dismissed as “rubbish.”

The press corps at Foggy Bottom noted that it doesn’t always bode well when an American enters a Middle Eastern city and is greeted with flowers and celebration.

Said Nuland: “This was about us supporting the rights of Syrian citizens.”

The video is worth a watch: