- Associated Press - Thursday, June 7, 2012

ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Syria’s recent violence is “simply unconscionable” and is blaming President Bashar Assad for “doubling down” on his harsh crackdown.

Referring to reports of a new massacre in central Hama province, she says Syria cannot be a peaceful, stable and democratic country until Assad leaves power.

Speaking in Turkey, Clinton says she and more than a dozen top foreign officials she has met have agreed on a set of principles for a new Syria.

They include the need for Assad to leave power and depart Syria — explicitly calling for Assad’s exile.

Syrian opposition groups say scores died in new violence on the outskirts of Hama. One organization claims pro-government militiamen killed at least 78. Syria rejects the claims as “absolutely baseless.”

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