US: Assad Regime Aims Heavy Artillery at Civilians
US Ambassador Robert Ford warned over the weekend on his Damascus Facebook page that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is conducting what is tantamount to an all-out war against his own people.
Writing a note about the “terrible and tragic development in Syria,” Ford described the use of heavy weaponry by the Assad regime against the civilian populace, explaining that satellite imagery revealed the Syrian government apparently had pulled out all the stops to pummel the civilian populace.
"For those unfamiliar with military equipment, the artillery used by the regime is designed for full scale warfare, and the regime is using it to pound civilian apartment buildings and homes from a distance,” wrote Ford. "There is no evidence that the opposition – even those opposition members who have defected from the military – has access or has employed such heavy weapons.
"Those who defect from the military are often lucky to leave with only the rifle in their hands, fearful that those loyal to the regime will hunt them down for refusing to kill unarmed civilians,” the ambassador explained.
"It's also important to note the opposition began as a peaceful movement and it is still mostly a peaceful protest movememt that has been met by the regime with imprisonment, torture and killing.”
Ford added that it was unfair to equate the violence perpetrated by government troops with the violence carried out by the opposition, “when one side is using such heavy weaponry.
"Satellite photos have captured both the carnage and those causing it – the artillery is clearly there, it is clearly bombing entire neighborhoods, and it marks a new low for the Assad regime.
"We are intent on exposing the regime's brutal tactics for the world to see,” he wrote.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said last week that "Ambassador Ford will maintain contact" with the Syrian opposition and “continue our efforts to support the peaceful political transition which the Syrian people have so bravely sought.”