U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday denounced Syrian authorities’ violence against the country’s nationals.
“I strongly condemn the abhorrent violence committed against peaceful protesters by the Syrian government today and over the past few weeks. I also condemn any use of violence by protesters,” Obama said in a statement Friday.
Syrian media reported 19 police and security force members were killed in clashes in the southern city of Daraa on Friday. Unofficial figures are higher.
“I call upon the Syrian authorities to refrain from any further violence against peaceful protestors,” he said, and extended condolences to the victims’ families.
“Furthermore, the arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture of prisoners that has been reported must end now, and the free flow of information must be permitted so that there can be independent verification of events on the ground.”
“Violence and detention are not the answer to the grievances of the Syrian people. It is time for the Syrian government to stop repressing its citizens and to listen to the voices of the Syrian people calling for meaningful political and economic reforms,” Obama said.
Daraa authorities said they have not hindered protestors from participating in the demonstration and took the events under control only when clashes and shootouts began.
Syrian mass protests started in Daraa on the border with Jordan on March 18. They were prompted by the arrest of a group of school students who wrote anti-government mottos on walls. Later the unrest spread to other Syrian regions. Unofficial data suggest dozens could have been killed.
WASHINGTON, April 9 (RIA Novosti)