Did Obama ruin Syria because of oil
Syria : Obama and Merkel are calling for Assad to resign
In a coordinated action, the West has called for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the first time. The USA, Germany, France and Great Britain clearly distanced themselves from Assad on Thursday. US President Barack Obama announced: "For the benefit of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to resign." In a joint statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Assad was said to be have "lost all legitimacy". "We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to clear the way in the interests of Syria and the unity of his people." US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced tough sanctions.
Among other things, from now on US citizens are no longer allowed to do business with the state-owned Syrian oil company. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the federal government is also working on expanding EU sanctions to include energy.
Shortly before, Assad had announced in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the military and police operations against opposition members had been going on for months. But the Syrian opposition reported that there was no sign of a withdrawal of the army and militias.
In the city of Homs there had been skirmishes between troops loyal to the regime and deserted soldiers, reported a coordination committee of the protest movement. Eyewitnesses in the city said soldiers were deployed. The troops had apparently been put on alert. The Syrian Human Rights Monitoring Organization reported raids and numerous arrests on Thursday in the city of Deir al-Sor and in Nawa (Deraa province).
The United Nations announced that Assad had enumerated reform projects in his conversation with the Secretary General that he wanted to tackle in the coming months. These included a revision of the constitution and parliamentary elections. Assad also announced on Wednesday evening at a conference of the ruling Baath party that numerous reform projects would soon be implemented. Ban stressed that reforms needed to be implemented quickly.
The UN Secretary-General expressed concern at the widespread human rights violations and the excessive use of force against civilians by the security forces. He again requested an independent investigation into the incident. The Syrian state media made no mention of the conversation between Assad and Ban on Thursday.
On Wednesday alone, 21 civilians are said to have been killed in the villages of Homs, Al-Haula, Latakia, Hama and Jabal al-Sawija, according to the opposition. A 17-year-old girl is said to be among the fatalities in Homs. In Latakia, where the security forces had attacked a Palestinian camp in the past few days, a 28-year-old Palestinian was reported to have died.
Since the protests against President Assad began in March, a UN commission estimates that the Syrian government has been responsible for the deaths of at least 1900 people. In doing so, she could have committed war crimes, according to a report published in Geneva on Thursday. At the same time, the UN Human Rights Council announced a special session on the situation in Syria next Monday in Geneva. (dpa)
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