Clinton calls on Syria to stop arrests, torture
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Syria Wednesday to halt the arbitrary arrests and torture of prisoners and on Bashar al-Assad's regime to address the demands of the country's protesters through political dialogue, dpa reported.
"The Syrian government must allow free movement and free access," Clinton said. "It must stop the arbitrary arrests, detentions and torture of prisoners."
The Syrian government "must cease the violence and begin a serious political process through concrete actions to demonstrate its responsiveness to the legitimate issues that have been raised by the Syrian people seeking substantial and lasting reform," she added.
Al-Assad's regime has been confronted for weeks with growing demonstrations seeking reforms and in some cases the ouster of the Syrian strongman. Dozens have died in recent clashes in Homs as tensions increased.
"We strongly condemn the ongoing violence committed against peaceful protesters by the Syrian government," she said. "We also condemn any use of violence by protesters."
Clinton said it was difficult to confirm the magnitude of the casualties because foreign media was cut off from accessing the area. "The Syrian government must allow free movement and free access," she said.