The White House warned Syria’s allies Monday that standing behind President Bashar al-Assad is a “losing bet.”
“Betting everything on Assad is a recipe for failure,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a briefing with reporters, arguing that the Syrian president’s hold on power is tenuous at best.
But Mr. Carney also indicated that the Syrian opposition could not count on the U.S. or other international allies for military support. The Obama administration remains focused on finding a political, not military solution to Syria’s political crisis, he said.
“We continue to work with the international community to do everything we can to enhance the pressure on him,” Mr. Carney added.
The comments came just two days after China and Russia blocked a U.N. Security council resolution intended to send a message condemning Mr. Assad’s violent attempts to quash protests against his regime and the same day the State Department suspended operations at its embassy in Damascus and pulled all of its staff, including Ambassador Robert Ford, out of the country.
In shutting down the embassy, Mr. Carney cited the surge in violence and increased concern about the safety of embassy staff.
But Mr. Carney stressed that Mr. Assad had the most to lose in the unrest, playing up evidence that the dictator is running out of money and forces loyal to him are losing control of parts of Syria.
“There’s no question that [he] is operating with a gross disregard for the health and safety and welfare of his own people,” Mr. Carney said. “He is killing his own people.”