Outrage at massacre of 88 protesters in Syria

US President Barack Obama has condemned Syria for ”outrageous use of violence” against anti-government protesters, as US Senator John McCain visited Libya in a show of support for insurgents trying to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

Syrian security forces fired tear-gas and live ammunition to break up protests, killing at least 88 people on Good Friday, Al Arabiya television reported, citing activists.

The government’s moves two days ago to lift the 48-year-old state of emergency and allow peaceful demonstrations ”were not serious, given the continued violent repression against protesters”, Mr Obama said in a statement.

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has condemned Syria for ”outrageous use of violence” against anti-government protesters, as US Senator John McCain visited Libya in a show of support for insurgents trying to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

Syrian security forces fired tear-gas and live ammunition to break up protests, killing at least 88 people on Good Friday, Al Arabiya television reported, citing activists.

The government’s moves two days ago to lift the 48-year-old state of emergency and allow peaceful demonstrations ”were not serious, given the continued violent repression against protesters”, Mr Obama said in a statement.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must ”change course now and heed the calls of his own people”, he said.

On Friday, Senator McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, visited Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and the centre of the uprising that began against Colonel Gaddafi in mid-February.

Mr McCain urged the US government to recognise the rebels’ transitional national council as the country’s government and provide financial assistance and more military aid to the insurgents.

Libyan fighters who were seeking to oust Colonel Gaddafi were ”patriots who want to liberate their nation”, he said. ”They are not al-Qaeda.

”Maybe we should be doing everything we can to help these people,” he said on Al Jazeera TV after visiting a hospital. ”And maybe we’re not [doing everything to help], and they’re dying.”

The violence in Syria was the deadliest since protests against Dr Assad’s government began on March 15 and Mr Obama said that using force to quell protests ”must come to an end now”.

”The United States has repeatedly encouraged President Assad and the Syrian government to implement meaningful reforms, but they refuse to respect the rights of the Syrian people or be responsive to their aspirations,” he said.

”President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an independent investigation into the killing of protesters. The UN said in a statement yesterday that he was reminding ”the Syrian authorities of their obligation to respect international human rights, including the right of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.

Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera broadcast amateur videos of thousands of protesters across the country and people fleeing gunfire in several cities. Two boys, aged seven and 10, and a 70- year-old man were among those killed in the southern town of Izzra, Amnesty International said.

”The Syrian authorities have again responded to peaceful calls for change with bullets and batons,” the human rights organisation said on its website. Syrian human rights activists have reported that at least 200 people have been killed by government forces since March 16, Human Rights Watch said. smh

  • guss043

    Useless president, Obama achieved his dream to be president and that’s all what he cares about

  • guss043

    Useless president, Obama achieved his dream to be president and that’s all what he cares about

  • guss043

    Useless president, Obama achieved his dream to be president and that’s all what he cares about