Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Sunday accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Dawood Oglu of pushing Syrians into a civil war.
“I say this with all due honesty, whoever reads with details the announcements by all of Hillary Clinton, Ahmed Oglu and others, will feel that they are trying to push for a civil war, and this is what I call a wishful thinking," Moualem told reporters in Damascus.
On Saturday, Clinton told the NBC network, “I think there could be a civil war with a very determined and well-armed and eventually well-financed opposition that is, if not directed by, certainly influenced by defectors from the army.”
“We’re already seeing that, something that we hate to see because we are in favor of a peaceful protest and non-violent opposition,” she said, blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for provoking the opposition into “taking up arms.”
Former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had also accused Syrian President Assad of taking his country to the brink of civil war.
Rice told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Assad’s crackdown on peaceful protesters is creating a very dangerous situation.
She said Assad “is no friend of the United States” and that his overthrow would be a “great thing” for the Syrian people, U.S. interests and anyone seeking a more peaceful Middle East.
Moualem also described an Arab League plan to send a monitoring mission to Syria as compromising the country’s sovereignty despite Damascus not rejecting the mission.
He said that the proposed mission has “pervasive jurisdiction that reaches the level of violating Syrian sovereignty” and said he would send the Arab League a letter with questions about its role.
“We will reply to the Arab League secretary general by responsibly presenting a number of queries,” he added.
“The protocol is three pages that completely ignores the role of the Syrian state. On one hand the Syrian state is responsible for the security of this mission and on the other hand they ignore even coordinating with it.”
The Arab League had previously given Syria three days from Nov. 16 to abide by a deal to withdraw its forces from restive cities, start talks with the opposition and pave the way for a League observer team.
But Syria was not responsive to the Arab League’s three-day ultimatum and continued with its crackdown.
The foreign minister also accused some Arab countries of complicity with the U.S. in pressuring Syria, but added: “This cheek is used to this slapping.”
In addition to that, he also denied reports that the Damascus headquarters of the ruling Baath Party was hit by rocket-propelled grenades Sunday, calling them “absolutely false.”
But he later thanked a Syrian journalist for clarifying that the explosions heard in the area were the result of a sound bomb, indirectly acknowledging that some kind of attack had taken place.
The government regime blames the country’s unrest on armed gangs playing out a foreign agenda that seeks to destabilize Syria. The uprising that began in mid-March has been largely peaceful, but has grown increasingly militarized with army defectors fighting back and some protesters taking up arms. The U.N. estimates at least 3,500 people have been killed in the government crackdown.