Feltman: We're Looking for Peaceful Ways to Stop Syria Killing

A senior U.S. official said on Sunday that the world is looking for peaceful ways to end "killing and brutality" in Syria, accusing Iran of supporting the murder of Syrian people.

"While the goal of all us is to find ways to stop the killing and brutality, we are looking for peaceful ways to do so," Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, told reporters in Amman.

"We think it is appalling what is happening in Syria, that you have (president) Bashar al-Assad basically driving the country to violence and sectarian strife by the actions he is taking."

More than 4,000 have died in the Syrian regime's continuing crackdown on dissent and protests which erupted in mid-March, according to the United Nations.

"We believe that in full light of monitors and media, the security services reporting to Assad and his clique would not be able to operate the way they are operating now," said Feltman.

"By allowing the monitors in, by allowing the media in, that's a peaceful way of trying to stop this sustained cycle of violence that Assad seems committed to turning Syria into."

Syria faced new sanctions after flouting Sunday an Arab League deadline to accept observers to monitor the unrest sweeping the country.

An Arab League ministerial committee late on Saturday gave Damascus until Sunday to allow an observer mission into the country and thereby avoid further sanctions.

A senior Qatari official said Damascus had asked for "new clarifications and further amendments to be made to the protocol which was proposed" to cover the deployment of the observer mission. But the Arab ministers had "refused."

Feltman, who held talks with King Abdullah II to discuss regional issues, also accused Iran of backing the crackdown.

"Iran is supporting, facilitating the murder of Syrian people. They are providing support for Assad. They are providing technical assistance to tap into opposition communications," he said.

"Iran is actively engaged in trying to help Assad put down peaceful protests inside Syria. I cannot imagine that this is good for the long-term Iranian-Syrian relationship, and that is just fine with us."

Tehran has expressed some criticism of Syria's violent crackdown on protesters, but has also accused the United States and Israel of stirring up trouble there and opposed the Arab League's suspension of Syria.

Source: Agence France Presse

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