Statement by the Press Secretary on the Situation in Qusayr
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
June 5, 2013
The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the Assad regime’s assault on Qusayr, which has killed untold numbers of civilians and is causing tremendous humanitarian suffering. The Syrian Arab Republic Government and other parties to this conflict have an obligation under international human rights and humanitarian law to immediately allow neutral, impartial humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies, safe access to evacuate the wounded and provide life-saving medical supplies and treatment.
It is clear that the regime could not contest the opposition’s control of Qusayr on its own, and is depending upon Hizballah and Iran to do its work for it in Qusayr. Hizballah’s involvement in Syria and the Syrian regime’s cross border attack today on Arsal represent blatant violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and a deliberate threat to Lebanese stability. The United States firmly supports Lebanon’s security, stability and sovereignty. We commend and support recent statements by Lebanon’s leaders calling for adherence to Lebanon’s policy of disassociation from the Syrian conflict. Hizballah and Iran should immediately withdraw their fighters from Syria. We also urge all parties to avoid actions that could exacerbate the already devastating toll of this crisis on civilians and increase the risks of spillover of violence.
The United States stands firmly on the side of the Syrian people in their fight for freedom and dignity. We will continue to provide support to the moderate political and military opposition to help them shift the balance on the ground to advance a political transition based on the principles of the Geneva Communiqué. Assad’s refusal to step aside is only prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people and postponing the inevitable. Assad’s reign will end, and the Syrian people will build a new, democratic Syria without him. Those who have committed these heinous crimes against the Syrian people will be held accountable.