The White House Demands Al-Assad To Step Down Now
The White House called for the immediate resignation of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the wake of the assassination of a Kurdish leader in Syria, which triggered the immediate reaction of the people who intensified their protests in the restive country, which has been going through protests for the last seven months.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Assad should resign now before he takes the country “further down this dangerous path.” The spokesman reminded that the assassination on Friday comes a few days after the United Nations Security Council rejected a resolution draft on Syria proposed by the European countries. The resolution failed because of the veto vote cast by Russia and China, two supporters of the president Assad.
Security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets of the city of Qamishli to attend the funeral of Mashaal Tammo, one of Syria’s most important opposition figures. Tammo was killed on Friday by masked gunmen.
One of the Kurdish activists and lawyers said that the killing of Mashaal Tammo brought the entire city of Qamishli into the streets for the funeral which eventually turned into a huge protest against president Al-Assad.
Kurdish activists said that there were some 50,000 people in the streets of the city, chanting “Leave! Leave!” and demanding the president of Syria to resign. The security forces opened fire, killing two mourners and wounding some more.
The Local Coordination Committees said that at least one person was killed and others injured as they were attempting to tear down a statue of Hafez al Assad, the father of the incumbent president. The committees also report that the city has immediately been closed following these events.
Tens of tanks have been reported blocking the city of Homs on Saturday, and mobile and landline phones were down in this part of the country.
Tammo, 53, was a referential leader of the Kurdish Future party and a key figure to the protests staged in this part of the country. He had also been elected as part of the Syrian National Council, created by the opposition in the likeness of the National Transitional Council in Benghazi, Libya.
Some of the people in the streets were quick to say that he died at the hand of the government, even though it would seem that the government has to lose from his assassination, considering that this way the Kurds, who did not get too much involved in the protests so far, were just drawn in by this gesture.
Kurds are 15 % of the 23 million population of the country, and have long complained that their grievances have systematically been neglected and their people have been discriminated.
Assad granted them citizenship in April in an attempt to address some of the Kurdish grievances and to win them over to his side.
The assassination of Mashaal Tammo proves to be a sign that the country could slowly slide toward civil war. Last week the son of a Sunni cleric who was close to the regime was killed in a similar manner.
The spokesman for the White House said that in addition to Tammo, Riad Saif, another opposition leader was beaten in Damascus on Friday, when at least 14 people lost their lives.
The demand of the United States that Assad left office is the most serious such attitude toward the regime that has been slaughtering its own citizens for months, while the international community does not seem to bring itself to at least formally condemn what is going on in there.
The veto cast by Russia and China was motivated by Russia with the fear that the Western countries could use the resolution’s permissive wording in order to force a military intervention against Damascus.
Moscow stressed out its ire over the interference in the development of the Libyan crisis, accusing NATO of overstepping its mandate to support the rebels. The criticism intensified after the French army acknowledged that it airdropped military equipment and ammunition in Libya.
Russia has serious political and economic bonds with Syria, where it has a strategic naval base, and a very serious contract on arms delivery. The US ambassador to the UN alluded to that when she slammed the Russian veto.11