U.S., EU Condemn Houla Atrocity, Call for 1 Voice Against Assad Regime

Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 00:43
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday condemned the ''atrocity'' of the deaths of 92 people in the Syrian town of Houla, joining global calls for world action to end the bloodshed.

Clinton said the United States would work with its international allies to increase the pressure on President Bashar Assad and his ''cronies'' after the reported massacre, saying their ''rule by murder and fear must come to an end.''

''The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms yesterday's massacre in the Syrian village of Houla,'' Clinton said in a statement released by her spokeswoman.

The U.N. mission said 92 bodies, 32 of them children aged less than 10, had been counted in the central Syrian town of Houla after reports of an artillery bombardment by Assad's forces.

Clinton said U.N. observers ''have confirmed that dozens of men, women, and children were killed and hundreds more wounded in a vicious assault that involved a regime artillery and tank barrage on a residential neighborhood.''

''Those who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account,'' she added.

''And the United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end.''

''We stand in solidarity with the Syrian people and the peaceful marchers in cities across Syria who have taken to the streets to denounce the massacre in Houla,'' the chief U.S. diplomat said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also said she was ''appalled by the reports of the brutal massacre'' and called on the Syrian regime to immediately cease all forms of violence and to abide by the Annan peace plan.

She said she would talk with the former U.N. chief on Sunday to affirm Europe's support and would urge the U.N. Security Council members ''to remain seized of the matter.''

''The international community must continue to speak with one voice, demanding an end to the bloodshed and urging Assad to step aside and allow a democratic transition,'' Ashton said.

Source:Agence France Presse
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