US Slams Syrian Regime Violence during Monitor Mission

Following a United Nations briefing on Tuesday regarding the situation in Syria, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice sharply condemned the ongoing brutality by the Syrian regime. Citing figures provided by the UN, Rice noted that hundreds have been killed since the Arab League observers entered the country in an effort to curb the violence.

According to a transcript released by her office, Rice called the death toll “a clear indication that the government of Syria, rather than using the opportunity of its commitment to the Arab League to end the violence and fulfill all of its commitments under the protocol, is instead stepping up the violence despite the presence of monitors.”

Also troubling to the US is that some of the Arab monitors in Syria were attacked and injured. The Arab League, in a statement released on their website, held the Syrian government responsible for protecting the observers. The League is set to meet with the mission next week.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in comments released by the State Department  following a meeting on Wednesday with her counterpart from Qatar, noted that the Bashar al-Assad regime is also relying on deception to mask its actions. She accused the Syrian army of trying to disguise its assault vehicles by painting them blue like police “to hide from the world the full extent of its crackdown.”

Rice, in her statement, said that the UN figure on the death toll in the uprising is over 5,000 people. Beyond the thousands who have been killed in the regime’s repression, others have been killed in multiple terror attacks. While the US condemned the attacks, which also killed Syrian security forces, Rice noted that more have been killed by the regime than by the terror against it.

“And there is no doubt that those [terror attacks] are happening, but that is a separate phenomenon and a frankly—fortunately—a lesser phenomenon than what we see—and have seen for almost ten months now—which is the government of Syria willingly and blatantly and in cold blood massacring its own people.”

Rice again called for the UN Security Council to come down harder on the Syrian brutality, urging it to adopt the Arab League’s stance on the matter, including calling for sanctions.

She said the Russians “inexplicably have been more or less AWOL” in leading the negotiations on a resolution they had brought forth on Syria. She hopes the Russians bring a new text to the Security Council “soon.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Chief of Defense Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, said that Iran and their terror-proxy Hezbollah are still aiding Assad. In comments to a graduation ceremony on Wednesday and released on the IDF Spokesperson’s Blog, Kohavi said, “The radical axis operates to preserve its strength. As time passes, Iran and Hezbollah persist in their efforts to prolong Assad’s regime by providing him with the know-how, arms and additional means, lately doing so through active involvement.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 11, 2012)