US leads calls for Syria's Assad to quit

2011-08-18 21:49

Washington - US President Barack Obama on Thursday led a chorus of calls by world leaders for Syria's president to step down, as the United Nations warned his regime could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Obama also slapped harsh new sanctions on Syria - including freezing state assets and blacklisting of the oil and gas sector - in an escalation of pressure aimed at halting the regime's bloody crackdown on protests.

It was the first explicit US call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign since the pro-democracy uprising - inspired by the revolts that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia - erupted in mid-March.

Activists say about 2 000 Syrians have been killed since then, as troops backed by tanks have assaulted several towns and cities.

"We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said.

His call was quickly echoed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people," they said in a joint statement.

The European Union also joined the groundswell of calls for Assad to go, noting "the complete loss of Bashar al-Assad's legitimacy".

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay meanwhile said Syria may have committed crimes against humanity and urged the Security Council meeting later on Thursday to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

A report by Pillay described a "pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity".

It said Syrian security forces had targeting civilians with ground forces, rooftop snipers and aircraft "with an apparent shoot-to-kill policy".

The document also describes summary executions, including reports that "forces conducted regular raids in hospitals to search for and kill injured demonstrators", as well as allegations of torture and arbitrary arrests.

It urged an immediate end to "the excessive use of force against demonstrators and the killing of protesters, torture and ill-treatment of detainees and enforced disappearance".

On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council is to hold a special session on Syria requested by 24 members, including four Arab members -- Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


Read more on:    bashar al-assad  |  barack obama  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7699.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.