Reports from Syria show that violence is continuing even though leaders recently said they would sign a peace treaty proposed by the Arab League.
“In the worst incident, 36 bodies were dumped in a square in a neighborhood that sits along a fault line between Sunni Muslim majority and Alawite minority,” said Mohamed Saleh to The New York Times.
Just a few days ago, Syria “responded positively” to a peace treaty proposed by the Arab League. The treaty required observers to be allowed into the country to ensure that violence had truly ended in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Sunni’s are the majority in Syria, but the Alawite minority remains loyal to President Assad. It is the minority loyal to Assad that has been enforcing control against protestors. Syrians, upset with Assad’s reelection in 2010, began protesting in March, leading to violent confrontations.
United States Secretary of States Hillary Clinton met today with the Syrian National Council, the leadership of the rebel group. She told the Council: “Obviously a democratic transition includes more than removing the Assad regime.”
Clinton continued: “It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens, regardless of sect or ethnicity or gender.”
The Alawite and Christian minorities that live in Syria fear retribution should the Sunni Islamists gain power.
Clinton recognized this fear and pledged to “discuss the work that the council is doing to ensure their plan is to reach out to all minorities to counter the regime’s divide-and-conquer approach, which pits ethnic and religious groups against one another.”
The United States has offered Syrians support as they transition to a more democratic government. In a show of good faith, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has returned to Syria after escaping in October due to fear of safety.
State Department spokesperson Mark Toner issued a statement saying Ford’s return “is among the most effective ways to send a message to the Syrian people that the United States stands in solidarity with them.”
Syrian Council spokesperson Bassma Kodmani told Clinton: “Any announcements made by the Syrian regime while the military crackdown continues has, for us, zero credibility.”