Authors: Carmen Cox
(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department Thursday said that some 30,000 Syrians are in detention, “in some cases, in absolutely repulsive, disgusting conditions.”
Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that witnesses who have been inside the prisons report that some prisoners are being kept in cages and in the courtyards of prisons and in schools.
Asked about recent comments from Syrian President Bashar Assad that suggested some regret for his regime’s response to the protests, Nuland said, “We are looking for action. We are not looking for words; we're not looking for promises. We're looking for the violence to end, for the forces to go back to barracks and for a real democratic transition to start.”
“The violence continues at extremely horrific levels,” she added.
Also, Ambassador Robert Ford met in Damascus Thursday with the Syrian foreign minister at the American’s request.
“He made clear, as we have publicly, repeatedly, that Syria is going to face increasing pressure if the silence doesn't end, including more economic sanctions from the U.S., and we hope, from others; that empty rhetoric isn't going to suffice. He challenged the regime's lip service about enacting reform, and he called for free and open access for the media and also for strict compliance with Vienna Convention obligations to protect diplomatic personnel,” Nuland said.
“You also won't be surprised that the response from Foreign Minister Muallem was just as defiant and just as unconvincing as President Assad has been in the last couple of days,” she added.
Nuland said Ambassador Ford is planning more travel outside Damascus, but wouldn’t say where or when.
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