U.S. Sharpens Appeal As Syria Bloodshed Continues

Syrian troops continued a bloody crackdown across the country on protesters against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as the United States reiterated its charge that Assad has lost legitimacy and appealed to the international community to further isolate Damascus.

Activists and witnesses said at least 11 protesters were killed in protests after Friday Prayers.

Five were shot outside the capital, Damascus; one in Homs; another in the central flashpoint city of Hama; two in the northern city of Aleppo; one in Deir el-Zour in the east; and one in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Military raids earlier in the day reportedly killed at least two people.

State-run news agency SANA said two policemen were killed in the Damascus suburb of Douma when they came under fire.

Syrian authorities have barred most independent media from covering the five-month-old protests, making it difficult to verify events and casualty claims.

U.S. Call For Cutoff

The latest violence came despite mounting international pressure on Assad’s regime to end its crackdown.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington on August 12 that Assad’s regime has become illegitimate.

“President Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead and it is clear that Syria would be better off without him,” Clinton said.

Clinton said one of the most effective ways to put pressure on Assad to end the crackdown would be for countries to stop purchasing Syrian oil and natural gas.

The statement appeared intended for China and India, who have continued to buy Syrian energy resources throughout the five months of protests and bloody clampdown in Syria.

Clinton also urged countries supplying weapons to Syria to halt shipments, a message that seemed intended for Russia, the biggest supplier of weapons to Syria.

Turkish news agency Anatolia said President Abdullah Gul had sent a letter to Assad earlier this week warning him not to delay reforms until it is too late.

The letter was delivered by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu when he visited neighboring Syria and held talks with Assad on August 9.

compiled from agency reports

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