Washington: Expressing concern over the raging violence in Syria which has claimed the lives of top Syrian officials, the US and Britain on Wednesday said the situation in the Arab country is spinning out of control.
"This is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control," US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at a joint news conference with his British counterpart Phillip Hammond when asked about the escalation in violence in Syria.
A suicide attack today killed Syrian defence minister General Daoud Rajha and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and deputy defense minister Assef Shawkat.
"I think it's obvious that what is happening in Syria represents a real escalation in the fighting and that all of the concerns that we've expressed about the need for Assad to step down, the need for a peaceful transition, the need to achieve a peaceful solution to that situation. That by ignoring those appeals by the international community that the violence there has only gotten worse and the loss of life has only increased," he said.
"I absolutely agree with Secretary Panetta the sense of the situation spinning out of control as the violence gets closer and closer to the heart of the regime. I think what we're seeing is an opposition which is emboldened. Clearly an opposition which has access increasingly to weaponry. Probably some fragmentation around the edges of the regime as well," Hammond said.
"We're all horrified by the level of loss of life, the atrocities against civilian populations being carried out in Syria," Hammond said at the press conference with Panetta following a breakfast meeting between the two leaders.
"There is a sense that the situation is deteriorating and is becoming more and more unpredictable," he said.
"We are very concerned by the increasing violence that's taken place in Syria and the tremendous loss of life associated with that increased violence," Panetta said.
It is more essential than ever that the US and the international community continue to work together, through the United Nations to bring additional pressure on Assad to step down and to allow for a peaceful transition of government there in Syria, he asserted.
Hammond said there is ongoing need for the international community, including Russia and China, to make it clear to the Assad regime that the Annan plan must be implemented in full.
The British defense official said the international community can apply pressure to ensure that the regime understand that they will not tolerate the use or the proliferation of those chemical weapons.
"I think that scenario we have differences with other international players on some issues. But this is an area where all the major international players share a desire, a necessity to see these weapons kept under tight control and not used in any way, shape or form," he argued.
First Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 23:37