Today the Syrian people mark their national day of independence at a time when brave Syrians struggle to end a regime that has committed horrible violence against its own people. These challenging times call for us to observe this important occasion with firm determination to help the Syrian people in the struggle to reclaim the freedom they won 67 years ago.
For over two years, the brave people of Aleppo and Homs, Damascus and Dar'a, Qamishly and Hasakeh, Tartous and Deir al-Zour, Hama and Raqqa, and neighborhoods and villages throughout Syria have faced down the guns, airplanes, and missiles of Bashar al-Asad's forces. Through these dark days, they have refused to back down in their struggle for rights and aspirations as citizens of a free and democratic Syria guaranteed by a government of their choosing. Heroes of that first war of independence like General Yusuf al-Azmah and President Hashim al-Atassi would surely be in awe of the sacrifices of their countrymen and women today.
On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest sympathies for the losses the Syrian people have endured in this struggle, and assure them of our unwavering belief in the righteousness of their cause and our determination to help them achieve the freedom and dignity they so richly deserve.