US Praises OIC Suspension of Syria

Posted August 16th, 2012 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
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The United States has commended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for suspending Syria from the 57-member bloc.

In a statement after the move Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the OIC decision sends a “strong message” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and shows its increasing international isolation.

The suspension came a day after a Syrian warplane bombed the rebel-controlled northern border town of Azaz, leaving scores wounded and several dead.

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb was in Azaz interviewing a local rebel commander when a bomb dropped by a Syrian Army MiG fighter hit about three blocks away.

“It blew the windows out of the office during the interview, and everyone evacuated. A few minutes later, it appeared that the same MiG made a second pass and dropped another bomb.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the attack killed at least 20 people. Reuters news agency quotes one activist as saying at least 30 bodies had been found and that the death toll is mounting.

Residents rushed to free the injured and collect the dead from the collapsed buildings.

The aerial assault on Azaz came after a massive bomb exploded Wednesday in a parking lot outside a hotel used by United Nations observers in the Syrian capital, Damascus. The explosions did not wound any international monitors.

Theodore Kattouf, the former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, told U.S.-funded Al Hurra television Wednesday that he understands how “demoralizing” it must be for Syrian rebels to fight against a heavily armed military. But he stressed that even with the escalating violence, the U.S. needs to have a better understanding of the opposition moving forward.

“At this point, the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend for the United States.”