The past weeks have seen tremendous and escalating violence in Syria as the regime of Bashar al Assad uses tanks, helicopter gunships, and artillery in its attempts to break the back of an uprising that began with peaceful pro-democratic protests almost seventeen months ago.
Human rights monitors put the death toll in Syria at more than 19,000. Over one hundred thousand people have fled the country, and within Syria, another million have been displaced from their homes, some sleeping on the streets with only the clothes on their backs.
Yet the Iranian regime, which has provided Assad with material assistance throughout the carnage, still pledges support for Assad at the highest levels. China and Russia blocked a third Security Council resolution which would have called for consequences for the Assad regime’s violence.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the obstructive role of the few nations who block efforts to halt Assad’s carnage will not stop the international community from holding his government accountable:
“As the Assad regime continues its bloody assault on its own people, despite crippling sanctions, condemnation, increasing political pressure, they have found support, primarily from Iran, Russia and China.”
“More than a hundred other nations and organizations have made clear that Assad must step aside in order for a transition to begin,” said Secretary Clinton:
“And we are supporting the Syrian Justice and Accountability Center, which is compiling evidence of serious abuses and violations of human rights. We’re supporting the UN Commission of Inquiry, which is gathering evidence about the crisis. We’re sending a message to the Syrian regime and making clear that there will be consequences for their actions.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney also made clear that the United States and its partners have been and will continue to take steps to isolate the Assad regime, to starve it of financial resources through sanctions, which makes it increasingly difficult for Assad to finance his brutal crackdown on his own people.”
Secretary Clinton said, “We continue to work with international partners to end the ongoing violence in Syria and usher in a democratic transition.”