The Obama administration has turned down a plea from Syria’s democratic opposition to step up diplomatic pressure on President Bashar Assad, who has violently repressed peaceful anti-government protests.
President Obama has not personally condemned the regime. The White House has not yet issued sanctions against officials who ordered soldiers to fire on peaceful demonstrators. The White House will not say whether they will pursue a Syria specific resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council,” Mr. Abdulhamid said.
The White House on April 8 issued a written statement from Mr. Obama that said, “It is time for theSyrian government to stop repressing its citizens and to listen to the voices of the Syrian people calling for meaningful political and economic reforms.”
Radwan Ziadeh, director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies who attended both meetings with White House officials, told The Washington Times that the administration’s response for more pressure on the Assad regime has been “lukewarm.”
“They told us they do not have the same leverage with Syria that they do with Egypt,” he said. “We asked them to use stronger language on Syria. We want Obama to say something himself in his own words.”
David Schenker, director of the Arab politics program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Mr. Obama has straddled the fence onSyria in the past month.
“This administration does not want to be seen right now as joining the movement for regime removal in Damascus,” he said.
“Nevertheless the atrocities are mounting. It is clear now that Assad will continue to repress violent protests on Friday. The administration should move ahead with the last of the Syria Accountability Act sanctions which would be to suspend all U.S. investment in Syria.”