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Clinton Calls for Ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Clinton Calls for Ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

At a news conference in Greenland, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, the strongest stance that the US has yet taken on Syria’s violent repression of pro-democracy protesters:

“The recent events in Syria make clear that the country cannot return to the way it was before,” she said at the opening of remarks with Denmark’s foreign minister before a meeting here among Arctic nations. “Tanks and bullets and clubs will not solve Syria’s political and economic challenges.”

…Clinton said that the United States would pursue “additional steps to hold Syria responsible for its gross human rights abuses,” which she cataloged in her remarks: hundreds of deaths, unlawful detentions, torture and the denial of medical care to the wounded.

“There may be some who think this is a sign of strength,” she said, “but treating one’s own people in this way is in fact a sign of remarkable weakness.”

While the US has imposed mostly sanctions on Syria — freezing the assets of three senior security officials — it had not yet demanded that Assad step down, even with at least 800 killed in demonstrations and thousands detained. According to the New York Times, the US is now — finally, you might say — considering sanctions against Assad himself, though the actual impact of such sanctions could be minimal as Syrian leaders are thought to “to keep their money in European or Middle Eastern banks, putting it beyond the reach of the United States Treasury.”

The BBC reports that, with Friday set to be a day of protests throughout Syria, Buthaina Shabaan, an adviser to Assad, has promised that government forces will not fire on protesters. Throughout the seven weeks of protests in one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, protests have often been staged Fridays after prayers.

But some reports say that security forces are being deployed in cities where protests are expected: Residents in Homs told the Associated Press news agency that soldiers were setting up machine guns on top of sand barriers and that three tanks remained in the area. Soldiers and tanks are also reportedly surrounding the city of Hama.

Furthermore, the government continues to arrest activists — including a lawyer in Banias, Jalal Kindo and a human rights campaigner in Homs, Najati Tayara — throughout Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), dozens were arrested in Banias — which has been laid siege to with tanks and troops — and the neighboring villages of al-Bayda and al-Qariri.

The European Union has agreed to issue personal sanctions against Assad and other Syrian officials, says the Guardian. A western diplomat stationed in Damascus commented that, while it seems that Assad’s regime may be holding onto power for now, this could change:

“With the army loyal and the current numbers, the government won’t be brought down. But as the economy worsens and Assad’s international legitimacy falls, the balance could change.”

Australia has also announced that it is “ramping up” sanctions against Syria for its brutal repression of protesters, says the New York Times.

Syrian officials dispute the death tolls of protesters reported by human rights activists and say that some 100 soldiers have been killed.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Potential Breakthrough In Fighting As Libyan Rebels Claim Control Of Misurata Airport

Syria Explodes: 10,000 Arrested, City of Homs Shelled (VIDEO)

Syrian Government Vows to Fight Protesters “To the End”

Women & Children Among Hundreds Arrested in Syria; Is Iran Aiding Assad? (VIDEO)

Breaking: NATO left 61 Africans Fleeing Libya To Die At Sea – VIDEO

Three Women Shot by Security Forces in Syria (VIDEO)

 

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55 comments

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7:52PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

THANKS HILLARY.

7:21AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Its high time the US of A stops meddling with the internal affairs of other countries.
Hillary Clinton should be shown the door.
People like her only serve to weaken the US of A and spread hatered

12:49AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Please look at these links:
http://www.facebook.com/FreeDorothy
http://amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/help-stop-bloodshed-syria

10:09PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Its time for all dictators to go ,and no country should try to force their system on other countries they should follow the the system which suits them

10:06PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Why doesn't the US pick on someone its own size. It's always about regime change in other countries. Try impinging on the sovereignty of China and Russia. There is already a lot of sabre rattling in North Korea and Iran but the democratically elected Hamas in Gaza is on the nose in the US. Afganistan is a losing battle (even backed the loser, the Talibaan first time round); Pakistan isn't too happy with the US; seems you have to get rid of Gadaffi (remember Allende); Hugo Chavez ain't too popular, either. When will you realise that the image projected is that of country non grata, the ugly American

1:21PM PDT on May 15, 2011

@ Joanne K. I agree. It is somewhat of a matter of who to believe. I have many Syrian friends, who tell me that their relatives talk to them and claim that all the supposed violence on youtube videos is fraudulent.

12:54PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Bashar is a mad dog - put there and supported by the countries interested in its own arms industries... Russia, China and even USA. This idiot has gone mad with power handed down by his SICK father.

Killing of one or one thousand is just a number in power hungry despots like him.

Clintons etc have very little legitimacy in lecturing the world its Hippocratical policies. They have no interest in others freedom as long as they tolerate the West's illegitimate child (Isreal).

Any one opposes their tyrannical, illegal occupation and robbing of all resources is automatically extremist.

Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qatries, Bahrainis are also illegal rulers of their people who are only there because the West wants them to be there.
Just keep supplying all the oil and put all your cash in their banks and the public can go and jump off the cliff.

10:36AM PDT on May 15, 2011

Clinton, who give you the power to interfere into one sovereign country? you are more dictator than Qadafie, Bashier and so on.
abdushikur, Ethiopia

6:58AM PDT on May 15, 2011

I don't know who to believe, but I have several (Christian Orthodox) relatives in Syria, and they are 100% behind their president. They love him because he has been very good to them and other minority groups. The only groups the president and his father didn't tolerate were militant and extreme Muslim groups who want to create a fundamentalist nation and drive out those who don't comply. I would be very careful what we wish for because we might get it. I see many Syrians who have posted on their Facebook pages, "Shut Up Obama: We Love Our President." They also post some of the "violence against protesters" videos propogated by our news media and claim the videos are taking place in Syria; i.e., they are false. It really doesn't make sense because Syria has been one of the safest Middle Eastern countries to visit because of its lack of terrorism and because it has held a sustained peace among its various factions. Why all of a sudden is there turmoil? Sounds fishy to me.

5:47PM PDT on May 14, 2011

We dont know NEAR enough to be picking sides here. We dont really know who the good guy and bad guy is. Unless you have talked to hundred os Syrians you have no idea.

Yes it APPEARS like the leader is the bad guy. But we dont honestly KNOW who his opponents are. Keep our noses in familiar territory.

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