Military option on table if violence rises, US says
A UN report in which locals have blamed the executions in Houla on a pro-government paramilitary group comes as envoy Annan (L) meets with Syria’s al-Assad. AFP photoThe Washington administration could consider a “military option” in Syria if the violence in the Arab Republic escalates, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said May 28.
“I think the military option should be considered,” Martin Dempsey told CNN. “But my preference … would be that the international community can find ways of increasing the pressure on [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad to do the right thing and step aside.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, condemned the killing of more than 100 civilians in Houla last week, saying the world’s patience had run out on Damascus.
“To carry out this kind of murder, to shamefully murder 50 innocent children, 110 innocent civilians ... is torture, it is wretched,” Erdoğan said. “There is also a limit to patience, and I believe that, God willing, there is also a limit to the patience in the U.N. Security Council.”
France is set to announce the gathering of the third Friends of Syria meeting, which will be held in Paris in either late June or early July amid a call by the Syrian National Council for international intervention in Syria.
Some 32 people - 20 soldiers, six civilians and six rebels - were reportedly killed yesterday in Aleppo province, opposition sources said.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said on May 28 “the military option should be considered,” as the violence in Syria escalates.
“I think the military option should be considered. But my preference, of course always as the senior military leader, would be that the international community can find ways of increasing the pressure on al-Assad to do the right thing and step aside,” Dempsey said on CNN.
Dempsey had earlier told the “CBS This Morning” television program on May 28 that diplomatic pressure should come before the military option. “I think that diplomatic pressure should always precede any discussions about military options. And my job, by the way, is options, not policy. So we’ll be prepared to provide options if asked to do so,” he said.
Erdoğan slams al-Assad for ‘cruel massacre’
Yesterday, however, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has condemned the killing of more than 100 civilians in the Syrian town of Houla last week, saying there was a limit to the world’s patience on ending the bloodshed.
“To carry out this kind of murder, to shamefully murder 50 innocent children, 110 innocent civilians, while the United Nations observer mission is carrying out its mission in Syria ... is torture, it is wretched,” Erdoğan said in his weekly address to his party group Tuesday. “There is also a limit to patience, and I believe that, God willing, there is also a limit to the patience in the U.N. Security Council.” Turkish government is calling on the international community not to lose its attention and to increase its pressure against a defiant Damascus.
Calling the Syrian security forces’ attacks against civilians “ravenous” and inhuman massacres, Erdoğan said “the Syrian administration is joking with the world through these massacres.” He also criticized some Turkish political parties and non-governmental organizations for siding with the cruel Damascus regime. He also congratulated Egypt for carrying out presidential elections in a peaceful environment and expressed his hopes that the results would be good for the Egyptians.