The US State Department condemned on Saturday a series of rocket attacks carried out by the Syrian military. The latest attack, said to employ Scud missiles, killed several dozen people in the eastern district of Aleppo on Friday.
The Friday attack follows a Tuesday assault on the city that destroyed several city blocks in the Jabal Badr district and injured hundreds of civilians. “These attacks, as well as other atrocities such as the strike against a field hospital earlier in the week, are only the latest demonstrations of the Syrian regime’s ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent,” said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“The Assad regime has no legitimacy and remains in power only through brute force…. Syrians across the country have demanded that Assad, and the architects of his violent campaign, step aside and allow a Syrian-led political transition to begin so that the rights of all Syrians can be respected, and the country can begin to rebuild,” said Nuland. “The United States sees no indication that the brave Syrian people fighting against this aggression will accept these regime leaders, with the blood of so many Syrians on their hands, as part of a transition governing authority.”
Nuland added that the US has contributed $385 million to help Syrian refugees and citizens inside Syria who have been displaced by regime violence.
“As the regime strikes out against more and more civilians, we have increased our humanitarian aid in close coordination with Syrian activists, and we have urged other countries to do so as well,” said Nuland. “We look forward to meeting soon with the leadership of the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the Syrian Opposition Coalition, to discuss how the United States and other friends of the Syrian people can do more to help the Syrian people achieve the political transition that they demand and that they deserve.”
The violence in Syria is expected to be a major talking point in John Kerry’s first foreign tour since being appointed secretary of state, which begins Sunday. Kerry will travel first to London, followed by stops in Berlin, Paris, and Rome. In Rome, Kerry will meet with the leadership of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. Kerry will then begin his Middle Eastern leg of the trip, visiting Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. He is not coming to Israel, Jordan or the Palestinian territories, so as not to upstage President Barack Obama’s visit next month.