Kerry praises Assad while Assad continues bombing Syria

Remember the refrain that used to come from all quarters of the Obama administration? Assad must go!

This was Secretary of State John Kerry speaking in London on February 25:

Less than two months after chemical attacks outside Damascus killed hundreds of Syrians, not only have U.S. officials stopped insisting Assad must go, but today Kerry praised the Syrian president. Kerry praised Assad even as his air force continued its daily bombing of Syrian cities. Of course none of those bombs were armed with chemical warheads.

Kerry is “very pleased” at progress in the chemical weapons disarmament plan which he called “a terrific example of global cooperation.” He added, “I think it is also credit to the Assad regime for complying rapidly as they are supposed to.”

Even among those observers who remain skeptical about the Assad regime’s responsibility for the August 21 chemical attacks, there should nevertheless be little debate about who has benefited, diplomatically, politically, and strategically: Bashar al-Assad.

The following videos of air attacks on several cities were uploaded to YouTube today and appeared on the Facebook page of the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Barrel bombs dropped on Kafr-Zeita, Hama:

An air strike on Dael, Daraa

An air strike on Hrak, Daraa

An air strike on Tafas, Daraa

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports: Syrian government forces have reopened a key road leading to the embattled northern city of Aleppo after heavy fighting with rebels that left casualties on both sides, state media and activists said Monday.

The state news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime troops wrested control of the road Sunday night. It had been closed since rebels captured villages along the road in August.

President Bashar Assad’s regime built the desert road to bypass contested areas after rebels took the town of Maaret al-Numan late last year, cutting the main highway between the capital, Damascus, and Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

“This road was a matter of life or death to the regime,” said Observatory director Rami Abdul-Rahman. He added that government troops now can send supplies to the north although the road remains “very dangerous.”

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