TUNIS – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today the Syrian regime will have “more blood on its hands” if it doesn’t immediately comply with cease-fire demands being issued by a group of 70 Western and Arab nations.
In opening remarks to an international conference of the Friends of Syria group, Clinton said the regime of President Bashar Assad has “ignored every warning, squandered every opportunity and broken every agreement.
“Assad is tearing the fabric of Syrian society and seeking to pit community against community,” Clinton said. “To repair that damage and build a sustainable democracy, all Syrians will have to work together – Alawis and Christians, Sunnis and Druze, Arabs and Kurds – to ensure that the new Syria is governed by the rule of law and respects and protects the universal rights of every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, sect, or gender.”
The Friends of Syria are demanding an immediate cease-fire so humanitarian aid can be delivered to Syrians who have suffered under a yearlong assault, especially those in the city of Homs, which has been under bombardment for three weeks.
“To those Syrians who still support Assad, especially members of the Syrian military: understand that this regime has no future,” Clinton said. “The longer you carry out its campaign of violence, the more it will stain your honor. But if you refuse to take part in attacks on your fellow citizens, your countrymen will hail you as heroes.
Clinton announced that the United States is providing $10 million toward humanitarian efforts, including support for refugees, medical facilities, and clean water and food, blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits to Syrian civilians in need.
“If the Assad regime refuses to allow this life-saving aid to reach civilians, it will have ever-more blood on its hands,” Clinton said. “So too will those nations that continue to protect and arm the regime. We call on those states that are supplying weapons to kill civilians to halt immediately.”
Clinton’s promise of aid and call for a cease-fire also came with a warning to President Assad: “You will pay a heavy cost for ignoring the will of the international community and violating the human rights of your people.”
Clinton called on other nations to institute travel bans on senior members of the Assad regime (as the Arab League has already done), enact more economic sanctions against Syria, and vigorously enforce already-existing sanctions.