Britain Says Assad 'Losing Last Shreds of Legitimacy'

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is "fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday as the regime escalated its crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

As Syrian forces raked the revolt-hit Mediterranean port city of Latakia with machine-gun fire that has already killed dozens, Hague said he was "appalled by the ongoing repression of civilians by the Syrian government".

"The regime's violence continues despite widespread condemnation by the international community. The calls for the violence to stop, including from Syria's neighbors, have not been heeded," Hague said in a statement.

Hague said Syrian forces had besieged towns and cities across the country and used anti-aircraft guns against civilians, "a disproportionate and unacceptable response to peaceful demonstrations."

"President Assad has so far failed to call back his troops. As long as the killing and detentions continue, his proposed reform package is irrelevant: there is nothing to discuss," it added.

"The Syrian people are calling for peaceful change; the international community is calling for an immediate end to the violence. Now is the time for President Assad to act in response to these calls.

"He is fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy. He must stop the violence immediately."

The statement was the strongest yet by Britain against the Syrian leader.

It comes three days after U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Saudi King Abdullah jointly expressed "shared, deep concerns" about the regime's use of violence towards its citizens.

Comments 4
Thumb benzona 16 August 2011, 20:34

I believe he lost his last shreds of legitimacy four months ago... at least from an international perspective. For us, Lebanese, he never was.

Thumb Marc 16 August 2011, 20:45

It is unbelievable how many chances Bashar has been given by the international community.... And he is still at it; of course, seeing Mubarak in Court does not help and his other option! hmmm, may be move to Iran

Default-user-icon BullsEye (Guest) 16 August 2011, 21:00

I don't know why, but the brits, US, and others keep giving the guy time, and warning after warning, while he goes crushing and killing his people in most savage way, and breaking every international law there is.
Only one side is not buying Assad, and is not giving him any chance to breath, and won't trust his words for a minute - that is his own people, and it is THEY who had pushed him to the edge, and he is only now one kick away from succumbing to his own misfortune...

Default-user-icon Beiruti (Guest) 16 August 2011, 21:03

Correction: Assad is not "losing" the last shreds of legitimacy. Assad has "lost" already the last shreds of legitimacy.

When will this guy understand and comprehend that "calls" for Assad to stop are useless. The threashold is much higher. Assad will not stop until he is made to stop, not by "calls by the international community" but by rocket attacks launched against his command and control center in the Presidential Palace that sits on that hill in Damascus.

Assad is betting that no one from the "international community" would want to pay that price to force him to stop and so far his bet on the spineless West is being won at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people.