Clinton says Assad ‘deliberately murdered innocent civilians’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday blasted the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying she was “outraged” by reports of a massacre involving civilians in a village.

“I was deeply saddened and outraged to learn of reports of yet another massacre committed by the Syrian regime that has claimed the lives of over 200 men, women, and children in the village of Traymseh,” said Clinton, in a statement released by the State Department.

“Credible reports indicate that this unconscionable act was carried out by artillery, tanks, and helicopters – indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians,” she said.

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Clinton called on the United Nations to again take steps to halt the violence in Syria and pressure Assad to leave power. The Syrian strongman has faced international condemnation for his use of force in attempting to put down an over-year long uprising against his government. 

But past efforts to force a ceasefire by imposing sanctions have been blocked by China and Russia, allies of the Assad regime. Russia this past week said it would stop new shipments of weapons to the Assad regime, but lawmakers and the Obama administration are skeptical of Moscow’s commitment to easing the Syrian leader from power.

In her statement, Clinton again raised pressure on those countries to join efforts to punish Assad. 

“History will judge this Council,” Clinton warned. “Its members must ask themselves whether continuing to allow the Assad regime to commit unspeakable violence against its own people is the legacy they want to leave.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday also accused Syria of violating international resolutions by using heavy military weaponry against civilians in Traymseh and said the Security Council must take “collective action” to prevent further deaths. 

Many lawmakers led by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have pressured the Obama administration to do more to aid anti-Assad forces in the country.

Last Sunday, McCain called Obama’s handling of Syria “shameful” and continued his push to arm opposition forces.

The administration, however, says it wants a diplomatic solution to the crisis and fears sending weapons to rebel groups will only intensify the violence. 

Earlier in the week, Clinton said Assad’s days in power were “numbered.”

“The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there’s a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region,” she said.