I met today with a small group of U.S.-based Syrian activists and members of the Syrian-American community to express our profound sympathy for all Syrian victims of the Assad regime’s abuse of its own citizens. In our discussion, the activists reaffirmed the internal opposition’s vision of a transition plan for a Syria that will be representative, inclusive and pluralistic; a new, united Syria with a government subject to the rule of law and fully respectful of the equality of all Syrians, irrespective of sect, ethnicity or gender. I encouraged the activists to work closely with their colleagues inside Syria to create this unified vision.
I admire the courage of those brave Syrians, both inside and outside Syria, who continue to defy their government’s brutality in order to freely express their universal rights. And I remain confident in the Syrian people’s ability to chart a new course for Syria’s future.
As I told the activists today, the United States will continue to support the Syrian people in their efforts to begin a peaceful and orderly transition to democracy in Syria and to have their aspirations realized. We have nothing invested in the continuation of a regime that must kill, imprison and torture its own citizens to maintain power.
The United States is working to move forward with additional targeted sanctions under existing authorities. We are exploring broader sanctions that will isolate the Assad regime politically and deny it revenue with which to sustain its brutality. The United Nations Security Council has also consulted this week on the escalating violence in Syria. Our view remains that strong action by the Security Council on the targeting of innocent civilians in Syria is long overdue. Some members of the Security Council continue to oppose any action that would call on President Assad to stop the killing, and we urge them to reconsider their positions.