Syria has hit back at the United States after Hillary Clinton said President Assad had lost legitimacy.
As Damascus wound up a national dialogue conference, largely boycotted by the opposition, authorities denounced her comments as provocative.
They said her remarks were “additional evidence of the US’ flagrant intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.”
Speaking alongside EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Washington, Clinton said on Monday: “If anyone, including President Assad, thinks that the United States is secretly hoping that the regime will emerge from this turmoil to continue its brutality and repression, they are wrong. President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power.”
The rise in diplomatic tension follows Monday’s assault by Assad loyalists on the US and French embassies in Damascus. The attacks followed visits by both countries’ ambassadors to the restive city of Hama, a hotspot of anti-government unrest.
The UN Security Council has condemned this week’s embassy attacks, calling on Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic property and personnel.