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US: Syrian Leader's Demise 'Inevitable'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Michael Bowman

U.S. officials say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule will end, but they do not know when or what will transpire afterwards.  Two high-ranking diplomats testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday.

Amid continued bloodletting in Syria, U.S. officials blasted what they called President Bashar al-Assad’s intensified campaign of “vicious attacks against the Syrian people.”  Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman addressed senators on Capitol Hill.

“The situation is, frankly, horrific.  Large numbers of Syrians are living every day under siege, deprived of basic necessities, including food, clean water, and medical supplies.  Women and children are wounded and dying from lack of treatment,” Feltman said.

According to Feltman, President Assad’s days as ruler are numbered.

“We do not know for sure when the tipping point, the breaking point will come in Syria, but it will come.  The demise of the Assad regime is inevitable,” Feltman said.

Until that day, global demands grow for attention to Syria’s humanitarian crisis.  Thursday in Geneva, the U.N. Human Rights Council condemned violations in Syria.  Russia was among three nations to vote against the measure, prompting this rebuke from Feltman.

“Russia has had interests and influence in Syria for a long time.  And it seems to us that Russia is not going to preserve those interests that Russia deems to be important if it rides the Assad Titanic all the way to the bottom of the Mediterranean,” Feltman said.

U.S. Senators expressed hope America’s actions will forge better ties with the Syrian people in the future.  Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

“I think, in the national interests of the United States, it is critical that future generations of Syrians say, ‘You know, America was on our side.  We do not have a problem with the American people',” Rubio said.

Echoing that view was U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was pulled out of Damascus last month amid security concerns.

“We want Syria in the future to not be the malignant actor that it has been, supporting terrorist groups and being the cause of a great deal of regional instability,” Ford said.

To that end, Ford urged continued U.S. support for human rights in Syria, and American backing for what he termed the Syrian people’s quest for dignity and the rule of law in their nation.

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