US, Europe powers demand Assad be held to account on Syrian uprising anniversary

France, Germany, Britain and the US marked the 12th anniversary of the Syrian uprising with a joint call to hold the Assad regime responsible for atrocities.

The four countries said they would not normalize relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government nor fund reconstruction in the country “until there is authentic and enduring progress towards a political solution.”

Some 500,000 Syrian civilians have been killed since the uprising, and amid widespread suffering and the displacement of millions, another 10,000 died in the massive earthquakes that struck in early February.

“We remain committed to supporting Syrian civil society and ending the human rights violations and abuses the Syrian people have suffered — from the Assad regime and others — long before the earthquakes struck,” the four countries said in a statement.

“The international community must work together to hold the Assad regime and all perpetrators of abuses, violations, and atrocities accountable,” they said.

“The ongoing conflict has created a permissive environment for terrorists and drug traffickers to exploit, further threatening regional stability,” they added.

The call came a day after Assad travelled to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, hoping to ease strains between the Syrian leader and neighboring Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sent Turkish troops into northern Syria.

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