Assad forces stepping up ‘brutalities’ against Syrians: US

Last Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 17:06

Washington: As the security situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, the forces of the Assad regime are ratcheting up brutality of their tactics against common people, the White house has alleged.

"We have said consistently that we see regime forces ratcheting up the brutality of their tactics - I mean horrific enough to use fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to strafe your own cities," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.

"We are seeing an escalating pattern of regime forces targeting civilians who are not at all involved in the conflict, so this is obviously extremely concerning as we go forward," she said.

"The security situation on the ground in general is continuing to deteriorate as the conflict escalates, not only in Aleppo and Damascus but also in Idlib, in Al Raqqa, in Homs," she added.

"We`ve seen horrific reports of barrel bombs, of cluster munitions used against civilians, and we, as you know, have consistently condemned targeting of civilians by any group. We`re not in a position ourselves to confirm the use of clusters, but there are quite widespread reports now from the ground to that effect," Nuland noted.

Not only the US has managed to expand the number of countries that are sanctioning the Syrian regime, but also the kinds of things that they are sanctioning so that the effect is now being felt quite strongly on the streets of Syria, including in terms of the inflation of the currency, other kinds of things. The US will continue to look at all of these options and work with its partners, she said.

There has been no change in the policy of the Obama Administration to provide non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.

"Our own decision is to provide only nonlethal assistance to the opposition; other countries are making other choices. And we do have very close coordination in looking at all of the needs of the opposition and also looking at who`s who within the opposition," the spokeswoman said.

"This is a very, very important issue now as we see an increasing trend of extremists trying to take advantage of the violence and the lack of government authority, et cetera, all of over Syria, to try to make inroads, to try to hijack what the Syrian people want and deserve, which is a more democratic Syria and an opportunity to have a real transition," she said, adding that the US is working very closely with lots of other countries.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 13:57

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