AJC Calls for Assad’s Removal After Expulsion of Syrian Diplomats
NEW YORK, May 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC commended Western nations for the decision to expel Syrian diplomats from their capitals. The coordinated joint action by Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain comes after the weekend massacre of more than 100 people in the Syrian city of Houla.
President Bashar al-Assad has denied responsibility for the murders, and, as he has done throughout the past 15 months, blamed insurgents for the violence. But UN observers who visited the city afterwards confirmed that the weapons used, as well as the tanks and artillery shells, all came from the Syrian armed forces. The UN said 49 children and 32 women were among the dead.
“Further isolation of the Assad regime is important, but may not be enough to save more Syrians from their own murderous government,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “His removal from power is long overdue and an essential first step to achieving peace in Syria.”
President Obama and the EU called on Assad “to step aside” last summer. However, U.S. efforts to increase diplomatic pressure on Syria have been stymied by Russia and China, which together have vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions. Moreover, Russia has been providing weapons to the Assad regime.
All Security Council members agreed to the 250 UN observers currently in Syria to monitor implementation of a cease-fire plan proposed to Assad by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. However, the violence, abetted by Iranian support of the Assad regime, has steadily increased since the cease-fire was announced two months ago.
“If Assad truly was committed to the Annan cease-fire plan, he should have withdrawn his forces and stopped the killings before any UN observers arrived in Syria,” said Harris. “Assad has shown time and again that he is unwilling to reform, and that defiant posture will doubtless continue after his meeting today with Annan in Damascus.”
SOURCE American Jewish Committee