Clinton meets Syrian activists as pressure mounts

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in Washington on Tuesday with U.S.-based Syrian democracy activists as the Obama administration weighed new sanctions on Syria, one of the few options at hand to protest an ongoing crackdown on opposition demonstrators.

The meeting came amid mounting calls at the United Nations and in Congress for action against President Bashar Assad's regime, which has intensified the months-old crackdown despite growing international condemnation.

Clinton sat down at the State Department with Syrian-Americans who support the push for democracy inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab Middle East this year. The closed-door meeting was meant to show solidarity with the opposition and express sympathy for those killed, which rights groups now say number nearly 100 since Sunday, the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Syrian troops on Tuesday tightened their grip on the city of Hama, an opposition stronghold, sending residents fleeing for their lives.

U.S. move on Libya: The State Department has signed off on papers that allow the Libyan Embassy in Washington to reopen under control of the opposition Transitional National Council, officials said Tuesday. Staffers will get access to $13 million in frozen mission assets.

Reversal in Yemen: Government airstrikes that accidentally killed 40 people on Friday, including four army officers and a tribal sheik, brought an abrupt halt to the largest military effort yet to dislodge al-Qaida-linked militants from the key southern town of Zinjibar, officials and tribal fighters said Tuesday.

Clinton meets Syrian activists as pressure mounts 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:09pm]

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