Tuesday, May 17, 2011

U.S. accuses Syria of instigating the clashes on the border with Israel

The U.S. has accused the Syrian government of inciting deadly border clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian demonstrators, saying that Damascus is trying to divert attention from its violent repression of domestic protest. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, regretted the deaths on Sunday at Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, but said that Israel "has the right to prevent unauthorized crossings along its borders." "We urge maximum restraint by all parties," the official said aboard Air Force One as President Barack Obama flew to the state of Tennessee.

Israeli troops fired on three border areas to prevent the crossing of a crowd of demonstrators, killing at least 13 people. Syrian media reports said that Israeli gunfire killed two people after dozens of Palestinians who infiltrated from Syria in the Golan Heights occupied by Israel. The White House blamed the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad about the violence on the border between Israel and Syria.

Carney said that Washington "strongly opposes the Syrian government involvement in inciting the protests on Sunday in the Golan Heights." "This behavior is unacceptable and serves as a distraction from the current Syrian government crackdown against protesters in their own country," he added.

The Obama administration has tightened sanctions on prominent Syrian officials to pressure Damascus and stop the repression against pro-democracy protests, but international human rights groups criticized him for not taking stronger action.

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