Clinton: US, allies to increase pressure on Syria

US secretary of state says Assad increasingly isolated; "We're going to hold the Syrian gov't accountable," she states as crackdown continues.

By REUTERS
May 12, 2011 18:12
1 minute read.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

hillary clinton_311 reuters. (photo credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that Washington and its allies were seeking ways to increase pressure on Syria to make reforms.

Clinton, in Greenland for talks with foreign ministers, said Syrian President Bashar Assad was increasingly isolated.

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"We are going to hold the Syrian government accountable," she said after meeting the Danish foreign minister. "The United States along with Denmark and other colleagues are going to look for ways to increase the pressure."

Rights campaigners said at least 19 people were killed on Wednesday as Syrian tanks shelled Homs and the southern province of Deraa. Some 750 people are believed to have been killed since anti-regime protests began on March 18.

At least 10,000 protesters have been detained across Syria over the past few days in a mass arrest campaign the government hopes will help stem the uprising.

Earlier this month, the US and EU slapped sanctions on top regime officials involved in the alleged human-rights abuses, but that has failed to put a stop to Syria’s bloody crackdown on its own citizens.



Last week, Clinton threatened an intensified international response to Syria’s attacks on its protesting citizens, tied the country to Iran’s actions, and hinted that the current regime has lost its legitimacy to lead.

“The Syrian government’s actions are neither those of a responsible government, nor a credible member of the international community,” Clinton said in a statement – though she stopped short of branding Syrian President Bashar Assad’s rule illegitimate.

“We will continue to hold to account senior Syrian officials and others responsible for the reprehensible human rights abuses against the Syrian people,” Clinton continued.

Oren Kessler and Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.

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