US lawmakers urge support for Syrian
WASHINGTON,— US President Barack Obama should
abandon his policy of engaging Syria and stand
foursquare behind opposition to the government of
President Bashar al-Assad, lawmakers urged
Republican Senator John McCain and Independent
Senator Joe Lieberman said Obama's effort to engage
rather than shun Damascus had "little to show for
it" and declared it was time to back protesters
against Assad's rule.
"A new Syria strategy is now needed -- one that
aligns the United States with the legitimate demands
and aspirations of the Syrian people for their
future," said the senators.
"We also urge the administration to work with
members of the international community to make clear
to President Assad that if he continues on the path
of repression and violence, it will carry serious
consequences," they said.
US Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain.
march 8, 2011 Photo: Getty Images.
McCain, who is the top
Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee,
and Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland
Security Committee, praised the Obama administration
for condemning Assad's crackdown on protests and
said Washington must "continue to speak out loudly
and clearly" against Assad's regime.
"The United States must stand unambiguously with the
Syrian people at this pivotal moment," they said.
Number-two Republican Senator Jon Kyl, a fierce
critic of Obama's efforts to engage Syria, said
Washington should call for Assad to step down and
called for US Ambassador Robert Ford to
"investigate" attacks on protesters.
Kyl also blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
for saying recently that lawmakers who visited Syria
recently had described Assad as a "reformer."
Kyl accused Assad of "affronts to the vital national
security interest of the United States," citing
Syrian activities in Lebanon, alleged cooperation
with North Korea to develop a nuclear program,www.ekurd.netand
support for Hezbollah and Hamas.
"We must learn from our mistakes, and President
Obama and the Secretary Clinton must promptly call
for Assad to step down and pledge to support the
legitimate Syrian opposition," said Kyl.
Over 2 million Kurds live in Syria, mainly in the
north bordering Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan region.
They comprise nine percent of the population and
have long sought official recognition of the Kurdish
language and their culture.
Kurds in Syria often speak Kurdish in public,
unless all those present do not. Kurdish human
rights activists are mistreated and persecuted. No
political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish
Suppression of ethnic identity of
Kurds in Syria include: various bans on the use of
the Kurdish language; refusal to register children
with Kurdish names; replacement of Kurdish place
names with new names in Arabic; prohibition of
businesses that do not have Arabic names; not
permitting Kurdish private schools; and the
prohibition of books and other materials written in
Kurds in Syria also suffer severe discrimination
because of their ethnicity. Many of them are denied
Syrian nationality and therefore do not receive the
full provision of education, employment, health care
and other rights enjoyed by Syrian nationals.
Compiled by ekurd.net from agency reports
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