DAMASCUS – Syria has condemned as “provocative” a statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that President Bashar al-Assad has “lost legitimacy” to rule, BBC News reported. “These remarks amount to further proof of the flagrant interference of the US in the internal affairs of Syria,” Syria’s state news agency Sana said.
After a crowd attacked the US embassy in Damascus on Monday, Clinton said Assad was “not indispensable”. France also blamed the regime after its embassy was similarly targeted. The embassy attacks came after the US and French envoys visited the northern city of Hama – a focus of anti-government unrest – last week, to show solidarity with residents facing a security crackdown. Syria said they had sought to incite the protests.
In Washington, Clinton demanded that the Syrians “meet their international responsibilities immediately to protect all diplomats and the property of all countries”. In the strongest criticism from Washington to date, Clinton added:
“President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power… Our goal is to see that the will of the Syrian people for a democratic transformation occurs.”