US rules out military intervention in Syria 'at this point'

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Washington, May 30: The US on Wednesday ruled out possibilities of military intervention in Syria in the wake of the Houla massacre "at this point" of time. It, however, called for an immediate political transition in the Arab country. "We believe a political transition is essential in Syria," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, hours after the US expelled the top Syrian diplomat from Washington, working in coordination with its allies.

Carney, however, said White House did not perceive any military action in Syria at this point of time. "It would not be the right course of the action," he added. He said the US thought militarisation in Syria at this point would not be the right decision for it would lead to greater chaos and carnage. "We are assessing the situation and we are working with our allies and with the Security Council as we continue to give the Annan plan support and hope that the pressure on Assad has an effect," said the spokesperson.

He added: "We also obviously believe that there is a desire among some of the members of the Assad regime to defect. We encourage those who would take such action, to separate themselves from a regime that would be remembered for a willingness to murder its own people." The spokesman accused President Bashar Al-Assad's government of depravity, saying the Houla massacre was a horrifying testament to it.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said these remarks did mean that the US had backed its position that military intervention risks doing more harm than good. Pentagon has not been asked to provide for military options in Syria, he said.

"When it comes to military options, again, the focus remains on the diplomatic and economic track. But at the end of the day, we in the Department of Defense have a responsibility to look at the full spectrum of options and to make them available if they're requested," he told reporters.

"The policy of the United States remains to focus, with our international partners, on applying diplomatic and economic pressure on the Assad regime to try to convince them that they are pursuing a reckless, inhumane and deplorable course of action," Little said. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the decision to expel the top Syrian diplomat in Washington is a statement of America's extreme disapproval and horror at the massacre. "We will obviously continue to look at other ways to pressure the regime economically, politically, diplomatically, and continue to try to tighten the noose. And we will do that in New York and we will do that in capitals over the coming days," she said.

PTI

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