The Syrian regime's attacks on the citizens of Aleppo ultimately will be "a nail in Assad's coffin," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said at an in flight press briefing while flying to Tunisian capital Tunis on Sunday.
Panetta is traveling to North Africa and the Middle East for a series of meetings, and Syria figures prominently in his conversations in Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia.
Bashar Assad's forces have launched heavy attacks against Aleppo, Syria's largest city. The violence that the regime is launching against its own people will ensure that the regime will fall eventually, Panetta told reporters traveling with him.
The international community has brought economic and diplomatic pressure on Syria to stop the violence and to have Assad step down for a transition to a democratic form of government. "The key right now is to continue to bring that pressure to bear on Syria to provide assistance to the opposition and to provide whatever humanitarian aid we can to assist the refugees," Panetta said en route to Tunisia.
The United States must not do anything to show that the international community is anything other than unified in the effort to bring the Assad regime down, the secretary said.
Panetta also discussed the chemical and biological warfare sites in Syria that U.S. planners say need to be secured. "We've been in close coordination with countries in the region to ensure that this is happening," the secretary said.
The United States also is working with Turkey and Jordan to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees from Syria.
by RTT Staff Writer
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