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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

United States Trying to Make Assad Step Down - State Dept.

RIA Novosti

06:43 01/08/2012 MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is continuing its efforts to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said on Tuesday.

“The situation is grave, and we’re witnessing the regime’s continued assault on its own people. We are continuing and accelerating all the efforts we have had in place to get Assad to step aside as soon as possible,” Ventrell said during a daily press briefing.

“We are not only, of course, continuing to work with like-minded nations on sanctions; we’re working to provide our support to the opposition, we’re working to provide millions of dollars of humanitarian support to help Syrians both inside Syria and those who have fled to the outside,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army continued its crackdown on opposition forces in Aleppo, the country’s industrial and financial center, Syria’s state TV reported on Tuesday.

Some observers view the battle for Aleppo as a major watershed in the Syrian conflict which could decide the future of the armed uprising against al-Assad.

Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million people, has remained the hotspot of Syria’s civil conflict since last week, when pro-government forces launched a massive assault on the city in a colossal push to regain control of key territories across the country.

International diplomatic efforts have failed to force the conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed and begin talks. Russia and China have three times vetoed Western draft resolutions on Syria fearing the repetition of “the Libyan scenario” in Syria.

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed 14,000-20,000 lives, according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups. The West is pushing for al-Assad’s ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria saying the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

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