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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Statement by Secretary of State Clinton
on the situation in Syria:
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
Sharp Escalation of Regime Violence in Syria
The United States condemns in thestrongest possible terms the escalation of the Syrian regime’s violent and brutal attacks on its own people. In the past few days we have seen intensified Syrian security operations all around the country which have killed hundreds of civilians. The government has shelled civilian areas with mortars and tank fire and brought down whole buildings on top of their occupants. The violence has escalated to the point that the Arab League has had to suspend its monitoring mission. The regime has failed to meet its commitments to the Arab League to halt its acts of violence, withdraw its military forces from residential areas, allow journalists and monitors to operate freely and release prisoners arrested because of the current unrest.
The Security Council must act and make clear to the Syrian regime that the world community views its actions as a threat to peace and security. The violence must end, so that a new period of democratic transition can begin.
Tomorrow, I will attend a United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria where the international community should send a clear message of support to the Syrian people: we stand with you. The Arab League is backing a resolution that calls on the international community to support its ongoing efforts, because the status quo is unsustainable. The longer the Assad regime continues its attacks on the Syrian people and stands in the way of a peaceful transition, the greater the concern that instability will escalate and spill over throughout the region.
The White House said on Monday it supported a political solution that would stop the violence in Syria after Russia's Foreign Ministry said Syria agreed to Russian-brokered negotiations over the crisis.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had lost control of his country and his gouvernment would fall. [Reuters]
Opinions have "evolved" within the UN Security Council and more members are now willing to back a draft resolution criticising Syria for its protest crackdown, a French diplomatic source said Monday.
"The balance within the Security Council has evolved" concerning a draft resolution on Syria in the wake of the latest bloodshed, the source said.
"At least 10 countries" of the council's 15 members could vote in favour of a draft resolution, the source said, adding that the most hostile council members were Russia and India.
"The new non-permanent members of the Security Council are more convinced of the need for a resolution," the source said.
Morocco, Togo, Guatemala, Pakistan and Azerbaijan joined the council as new temporary members this month. At the same time Brazil, which had been among countries resisting action in Syria, lost its place on the council.
The opposition Syrian National Council warned on Monday of a possible "massacre" of hundreds of young men rounded up by security forces in a town near Damascus.
It voiced "fears over a possible liquidation of hundreds of young men that Syrian security services have gathered in a public square in Rankus," 40km north of the capital, in a statement received in Nicosia.
The SNC called for the Arab and international media "to act quickly to follow this issue".
Security forces "raided Rankus this morning, backed by tanks and rocket-launchers ... and launched a campaign of arrests," it said.
"The authorities have cut off electricity, telephone lines and water. They have imposed a siege on Rankus, preventing food and medical aid from entering" the town of 25,000 inhabitants.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier that troops penetrated Rankus after shelling the town which had been encircled for six days.
The rights group and activists at the scene said army deserters pulled out of Rankus as troops moved in. The assault reportedly cost the lives of two deserters and left dozens of civilians wounded. [AFP]