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Clinton: Syria’s brutal crackdown on protests is a sign of weakness

Secretary of State says Syria's Assad getting increasingly isolated, and that the U.S. will hold the Syrian government accountable for its actions.

By News Agencies, HAARETZ service

May 12, 2011 | 12:07 pm

"Down with al-Assad." Regime-critical graffiti was an early sign of the uprising.

"Down with al-Assad." Regime-critical graffiti was an early sign of the uprising.

In some of her strongest remarks yet on Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham said Thursday the brutal crackdown against protesters demonstrated the government’s weakness, though she stopped short of saying President Bashar Assad must quit.

Syrian soldiers and tanks surrounded the city of Hama, which President Bashar Assad’s father laid waste to in 1982 to stamp out an earlier uprising, an activist said. Government forces also used clubs to disperse 2,000 demonstrators on a northern university campus.

Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, is trying to crush an uprising that exploded nearly two months ago and is now posing the gravest threat to his family’s 40-year ruling dynasty. The level of violence is intensifying as forces move into more volatile areas, and the United States called the crackdown “barbaric.”

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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