Aug 12. - The U.S. calls on countries to stop buying Syrian oil, putting more pressure on Syria to end a brutal crackdown against protesters. Katharine Jackson reports.
Stop buying energy from Syria. Stop selling arms to Syria; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that is how nations around the world can force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying: (English) "We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history," Rights groups say at least 1700 civilians have died in a bloody military crackdown on protests against Assad that began in March and has intensified since the Muslim period of Ramadan began nearly two weeks ago. Activists say Syrian forces killed more than a dozen protesters Friday after Muslim prayers, as demonstrations spread. Syria blames armed groups for the violence, claiming they have killed 500 soldiers and police. Appearing at a news conference with Norway's foreign minister, Clinton stopped short of explicity calling for Assad to step down. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying: (English) "President Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead and it is clear that Syria would be better off without him." Assad has close links to Syria's oil industry - which generates most of the nation's hard currency with 38,000 barrels a day in crude output. Katharine Jackson, Reuters.