Aug. 2 - The top U.S. military officer calls for a swift end to violence in Syria, saying the U.S. will keep diplomatic pressure on President Bashar al-Assad. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The sound of escalating tensions in Syria. Amateur video out of Hama, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, shows tanks on the streets of the city. President Bashar-al Assad's government is cracking down on demonstrators protesting against his rule, sending forces to besieged cities where residents have demanded reforms. In Iraq, the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen calls for an end to the violence. SOUNDBITE: Admiral Mike Mullen, saying (English): "With respect to Syria we decry the violence and the violence needs to stop as quickly as possible. The people of Syria are certainly seeking a different and reformed government and governance . Many, many countries around the world have called for President Assad and his leadership team to make these changes and we would hope that violence would stop immediately and those changes would be initiated" At least 137 civilians taking part in the protests have been killed in Syria since Sunday according to residents, witnesses and rights campaigners. Mullen would not commit any direct U.S. military action in the country. SOUNDBITE: Admiral Mike Mullen, saying (English): "There's no indication whatsoever that the Americans are, that we would get involved directly with respect to this. I think politically and diplomatically, we want to bring as much pressure as we possibly can to effect the change that so many countries are calling for." Rights groups say more than 1600 people have been killed in Syria since the uprisings began in March. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters