West dismisses Syria constitution vote as ‘farce’
By ZEINA KARAM and BEN HUBBARD
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The U.S. and its allies dismissed the Syrian regime’s referendum on a new constitution Sunday as a “farce” meant to justify the bloody crackdown on dissent.
But voters in government strongholds suggested why some Syrians have not joined the uprising against President Bashar Assad: Loyalty, distrust of the opposition and fear his fall will ignite a civil war.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the poll “a cynical ploy” and urged Syrians who still support Assad to turn against him. A “farce” and a “sham vote” was how German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described it.
“It’s a phony referendum and it is going to be used by Assad to justify what he’s doing to other Syrian citizens,” Clinton said in an interview with CBS News in Rabat, Morocco.
“The longer you support the regime’s campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor,” she added, addressing Assad supporters, especially the military. “If you refuse, however, to prop up the regime or take part in attacks … your countrymen and women will hail you as heroes.”
While casting his vote at the state broadcasting headquarters, Assad showed no signs of giving in on international demands to end his crackdown. And as he has done in the past, he tried to deflect blame in other directions. He said Syria was under a “media attack.”
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- Syrian referendum called a ‘sham,’ activists say 29 more killed in crackdown (thestar.com)
- West calls Syrian referendum a ‘sham’ (thehindu.com)
- Syria votes on new constitution as shelling of Homs continues (guardian.co.uk)