US Seeks Smooth But Unlikely Transition in Syria

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
U.S. principles for a post-Assad Syria are security, sectarian harmony and no tolerance for extremists.

FILE - In a March 30, 2011 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, addresses the Parliament, in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA, file)

U.S. principles for a post-Assad Syria are security, sectarian harmony and no tolerance for extremists.

But Washington faces a hard sell with Syria's fighters after refusing to back them militarily and watching them squabble for months over how to reshape their country after President Bashar Assad's regime crumbles.

With government defections increasing and the rebels gaining an advantage in Aleppo and Damascus, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined her vision Tuesday of how Syria should move forward if there is regime change.

She said it is necessary that state institutions remain intact.

But after four decades of the Assad family dictatorship and 17 months of brutal repression, opposition anger runs so deep that Syrian factions dispute even the most basic elements of a post-Assad plan.


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