US ambassador: Syria's Assad could escape criminal prosecution

“Ultimately this is a Syrian revolution, not an American war or something. So in the end if Syrians decide that it is better not to pursue Bashar Assad, that is a Syrian decision. But we do think that the extent of the brutality and the extent of the violence requires at least some level of accountability for officials in Syria is likely going to be demanded. And I think a lot of Syrians will demand that. The particular status of any one individual, I'm going to leave that Syrians.”

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More than 30,000 Syrians have died in the 20-month uprising. 

Ford said the U.S. State Department has made “the tools available” for Syrians so they can “pursue options on accountability if they wish to do so.”

“We've actually worked with Syrian investigators, started training them on how to develop war crime files and criminal files,” Ford said. “We in fact have established a training center in Lyon, France, with American money [from the State Department] to train Syrian investigators in how to develop dossiers, how to develop criminal trials. We're working with seven other countries in that center.”

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Ireland to try to renew a diplomatic solution to the civil war. Clinton is expected to officially recognize the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate successor to Assad's government during a meeting of a U.S.-backed Friends of Syria in Morocco next week.