News / Middle East

Clinton: US Increasing Help for Syrian Rebels

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton July 24, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton July 24, 2012
Margaret Besheer
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is increasing its efforts to help Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Clinton gave no details, but she said Tuesday that the U.S. is giving such non-lethal aid as medical and communications support. She said Washington is working outside of the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions that would have taken strong action against the Assad government.

The secretary said the Syrian opposition is seizing control of more and more territory, which she says will eventually become a safe haven and a base for more operations.

She said the opposition must be ready to start work on an interim government that protects the rights of all Syrians and safeguards the stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

Opposition Demands Assad Step Down

The spokesman for the Syrian National Council says the main opposition grouping is still demanding President Bashar al-Assad leave power, denying that the coalition would consider having someone from the current government temporarily lead a political transition.

Syrian National Council spokesman George Sabra told VOA by phone from Paris Tuesday that he had been misquoted in an earlier news report in which he was reported to have said the SNC would agree to the departure of President Assad and the transfer of his powers to a regime figure, who would temporarily lead a transitional period.

“There is not any change with the position and opinion of SNC about the regime and the transition period," he said. "The transition period should start after leaving Bashar al-Assad and his regime the power.

"And the principle of this transition period has been announced in a document issued by the most parties of the opposition in that meeting which has been held two weeks ago in Cairo," Sabra said. "So nothing new about this thing.”

Opposition Squabbling

The opposition meeting earlier this month in Cairo was marked by squabbling among delegates.

But ultimately a plan emerged for a framework for a post-Assad political transition period that includes an interim government and parliament.

SNC spokesman Sabra indicated that talks continue within the opposition about the way forward if and when President Assad leaves power.
“We are discussing now between us in the council, and also with the Free Syrian Army, about the idea of the transition document,” he said.

Fierce Fighting

Meanwhile, Syrian jets flew overhead while helicopters fired missiles Tuesday in a new government push to put down the rebellion in Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

The exact situation on the ground is not clear. But witnesses report heavy fighting in the streets. Opposition reports say thousands of Syrian troops are heading toward Aleppo from their positions near the Turkish border.

Aleppo was relatively calm until late last week when the rebels launched their operation to take the city.

The opposition-run Local Coordination Committees also reported Tuesday that government forces were shelling areas outside Damascus, as well as in Homs, and in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

Chemical Weapons

On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama joined other world figures in warning Syria against using chemical weapons.

Obama's comments came after a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the government would never use chemical weapons against its own people, but would unleash them against what he called foreign invaders. He said the military is securely guarding the nation's weapons stockpile.

Syrian activists say more than 19,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March of last year.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 9:32 PM
Your whole country hates you Assad, they want you out! You can't win the minds of your very own people, you've already stained them with blood. You idiot just go, you did enough damage. Your whole population is your opponent, which you refer to as terrorists. That is the biggest insult a leader can ever name on their entire population, calling them all terrorists.

I can't wait to see the youtube video of you being dragged by the feet by FSA.

by: Malek Towghi ,Ph.D. from: USA
July 24, 2012 10:21 PM
Yesterday, during the COLD WAR I, the Sunni Islamists were our allies to kill the 'commies' plus the liberal-secularist-progressive democrats of the Islamic world who preferred nonalignment. Today in the early stage of the COLD WAR II against Russia (the credit for the beginning of which will go to Hillary Clinton) we are paying back to the Sunni Islamists to kill the Shi'ahs. (By the way, I was born in a Sunni family and region and was raised as a Sunni.) ...

During the early stages of the Cold War after a thorough debate, the Sunni Islamist opinion leaders, e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the so-called Salafis -- and their counterparts in South- Central-and-Southeast Asia, e.g. Jama'at-e Islami, Jam'iyyat-e Ulama, the Masjumi , Nahdat-ul-Ulama and ... -- asked Muslims in a series of overt and covert fatwas to support the West against the Soviet Union because, they decreed, the West was "the AHWAN-UL-BALIYYATAYN, the lesser evil of the two" for the reasons xyz. As a humble student of History of International Relations, I am interested to know Hillary Clinton's rationale for committing my country, the USA, to the Sunni camp against the Shiite.

by: CR from: China
July 24, 2012 9:14 PM
US is playing a world's cop role,but she is really a rascal in her bones,who is unjust is doomed to destruction.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 9:34 PM
If the USA didn't play a cop role the world would be a worse place.

by: zzj from: China
July 24, 2012 8:22 PM
Hillary Clinton is getting older since she take power as the secretary of State.U.S is always supporting anti-goverment war in Africa without regard for the ture hope of Syria people.

by: WP from: Danville,CA
July 24, 2012 7:11 PM
Russia & China are always for non interference in other countries internal affairs and respect other countries right of self determination.

US involves continuously in subversion, promoting 'democracy' where it is not needed and causing misery with total disregard for
humanity and human rights to live.

Who is right and who is wrong? Who is the Evil Empire ?

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2012 4:54 PM
So Assad still thinks that the entire world is gullible? He expects us to believe that he has killed 20,000 terrorists in his country?
Come on Assad, admit it, you thought we were stupid...
Off to the gallows.

by: Sunita from: India
July 24, 2012 1:30 PM
hey, what's the life expectancy of one of these idiotic clowns...??? do you think they have insurance...??? but really, it isn't worth reading - who the hell really cares about these Arabs...
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2012 11:16 PM
The Americans care- they do everything trying to topoff the Asyad-- why- just for justice- haha
In Response

by: Bruce from: United States
July 24, 2012 7:05 PM
I hope for the best for Syrians regardless of what happens. I do wish that my own country would spend less time and effort caught up in foreign political affairs.

A Syrian victory needs to come from the Syrians themselves. If the rebels win, then they will rebuild the country and make it better, if Al-Assad wins, then they will have overcome a great adversary and will be stronger as a country as a result.

We have very limited and very biased information on the topic as it is, we should be very careful about who we pass judgement on.
In Response

by: peace
July 24, 2012 7:05 PM
everyone around the world who has to suffer or change their daily life routines because of Islamist terrorist threats or attacks..

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