President Barack Obama on Saturday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government of murdering civilians in an “unspeakable assault” in the city of Homs, and demanded that Assad step down, a day after more than 400 civilians across the country.
“Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately,” Obama said in a statement.
The U.S. president’s blunt condemnation came amid reports that more than 200 civilians were killed by Syrian forces in a night of shelling of residential areas in the flashpoint city of Homs.
More than 200 others were reported killed by security forces elsewhere in the country.
“Yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence, and Syrian forces continue to prevent hundreds of injured civilians from seeking medical help,” Obama said.
“I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones,” he said.
Obama said the Security Council “now has an opportunity to stand against the Assad regime’s relentless brutality and to demonstrate that it is a credible advocate for the universal rights that are written into the U.N. Charter.”