Clinton Tells China, Russia That Syrian Allies Will "Pay The Price"
Speaking at the Friends of Syria conference in Paris, Clinton accused the two trade partners of Syria of "standing up for" Assad's regime, CNN reported. She urged the more than 100 other nations and organizations represented at the conference to let Russia and China know that they will "pay the price" for supporting the Assad regime.
Neither Russia nor China were represented at the summit and it remains unclear whether the two nations will budge from their long-standing opposition to toppling Assad from power. Russia and China have vetoed past efforts by the U.N. Security Council to condemn the ongoing violence in Syria.
"No transition plan can progress as long as the regime's brutal assaults continue," Clinton said. "That's why the entire world is looking at those few nations who have influence in Damascus."
Clinton's comments directed at Syria's allies came as Assad's regime suffered a significant blow. Reports surfaced that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlas of Syria's elite Republican Guards had abandoned the regime over the killing of Sunnis, according to one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We are told of the defection of someone quite important in the regime, very close to Bashar al-Assad, which means that his close entourage is starting to understand that the regime is unsustainable," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
Meanwhile, the violence continued in Syria as the Local Coordination Committees reported at least 73 deaths on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights set the death toll at 53.