US slams Syrian elections as 'a disgrace'

2014-06-04 08:49
Syria's President Bashar Assad (File, AP)

Syria's President Bashar Assad (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The United States on Tuesday denounced Syrian leader Bashar Assad's attempt to shore up his authority by staging presidential elections in the middle of a brutal civil war.

"Today's presidential election in Syria is a disgrace," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said. "Assad has no more credibility today than he did yesterday."

Voters turned out in government-controlled areas of Syria to vote in an election seen as certain to return long-standing leader Assad to office with a mandate to continue his battle against rebel forces.

At least 162 000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising against Assad's rule erupted in March 2011, triggering a savage crackdown.

More than half the population have fled their homes as extremist groups have flooded into Syria to take advantage of the power vacuum.

Washington blames the chaos on Assad's rule and has demanded he give way to a transitional government.

"Elections should be an opportunity for the people of a free society to be consulted and to play an important role in choosing their leaders," Harf said.

But Tuesday's elections had "intentionally denied millions of Syrians the right to vote," Harf said, adding the Syrian regime "continues to massacre the very electorate it purports to represent and protect".

'There are no easy answers'

"Detached from reality and devoid of political participation, the Assad regime's staged election today continues a 40-year family legacy of violent suppression that brutally crushes political dissent and fails to fulfil Syrians' aspirations for peace and prosperity."

But in a swipe at the US administration, former US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, told CNN he had retired from his post in May as "I was no longer in a position where I felt I could defend the American policy".

"We have been unable to address either the root causes of the conflict in terms of the fighting on the ground and the balance on the ground, and we have a growing extremism threat," said Ford, who worked for almost three years with the Syrian opposition.

"There really is nothing we can point to that's been very successful in our policy except the removal of about 93% of some of Assad's chemical materials. But now he's using chlorine gas against his opponents."

Asked about Ford's comments, Harf said he was now a "private citizen... entitled to his own views".

She agreed though that administration of President Barack Obama shared Ford's "frustration" at a situation in which she said was "there are no easy answers".

"When you have a brutal dictator who is willing and able to kill people, like he's killed, with chlorine, potentially, with chemical weapons, with barrel bombs, it's a really tough challenge," Harf said.

"We have a lot of tools at our disposal that we're using, but there is no solution that will happen overnight."
Read more on:    barack obama  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
8 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.