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US envoy: Syrians do not want Assad in power

Haley called Assad a 'war criminal' and described his crimes against Syrians as 'disgusting' [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 April, 2017

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The US Envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley has said that Washington believes the people of Syria do not want Bashar al-Assad to remain in power.

Washington believes the Syrian people do not want President Bashar al-Assad to remain in power, the US Envoy to the UN urged on Monday.

Nikki Haley’s comments come after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that Assad’s future is up to the Syrian people.

When questioned about Tillerson’s comments and asked whether Washington would accept if Assad re-ran himself for elections, she said the US would “never” accept such a situation.

"We don't think that the people want Assad any more. We don't think that he is going to be someone that the people want to have," Haley urged.

Haley called Assad a “war criminal” and described his crimes against the Syrian people as “disgusting”.

She also said that Assad has been "a hindrance to peace for a long time".

However, she refused to deny that Washington is no longer treating Assad’s removal as a priority.

“You pick and choose your battles," she said.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Agencies contributed to this report

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