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Public Statements

Condemning the Attacks on Demonstrators in Syria

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker. I rise today to strongly condemn the violence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has unleashed on his people over the past few months.

While the world closely watched the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia unfold, little attention has been paid to the Assad government's crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. In March 2011, hundreds of Syrians took to the streets to demand freedom and to force the Assad government to lift the emergency law, which has been in place since 1963.

Instead of meeting their demands, the Assad government unleashed a vicious crackdown on demonstrators with security forces firing, arresting and torturing thousands of unarmed Syrians. According to U.N. officials, as many as 1,100 people may have been killed since the protests began and as many as 10,000 people have been reported to be in custody or missing.

In May 2011, the Syrian government widened its military crackdown by sending tanks into several more villages and severing communications. The attacks on civilians and military defectors intensified in June after demonstrators showed renewed strength and determination. The relentless attacks have forced thousands of Syrians to flee Syria into Lebanon and Turkey to escape the escalating violence.

While I applaud President Obama and Secretary Clinton for condemning these brutal attacks and human rights violations, I believe the U.S. and the international community should be doing more to force the Assad regime to stop attacking its own people. I urge my colleagues to join me in condemning this violence and to call on the Obama administration to take a more active role in forcing the Syrian government to end these attacks.

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