Syria Opposition Demands Reforms, Vows Protests

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Opposition activists seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that unless the embattled leader transitions to a democratic form of government their  "massive grassroots revolution" will break his regime.

"If the Syrian president does not wish to be recorded in history as a leader of this transition period, there is no alternative left for Syrians except to move forward along the same path as did the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans before them," the National Initiative for Change, an umbrella group of opposition activists in Syria and abroad, said in a statement.

A democratic transition will "safeguard the nation from falling into a period of violence, chaos and civil war," the statement read.
 
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department says Iran is helping al-Assad's regime crack down on the nation's political protestors.
   
"Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is disingenuously blaming outsiders while at the same time seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria's citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by the Iranian regime," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said.

In recent days, Syria has stepped up its efforts to suppress the protests aimed add forcing al-Assad to relinquish power. The government has sent tanks into the streets and reportedly used snipers against demonstrators.

"The outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end and now," she told reporters after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council behind closed doors on Syria and other hotspots.

"The brutal violence being used by the government of Syria against its own people is abhorrent and deplorable and the United States condemns it in the strongest terms," Rice said.
    
Tehran used similar tactics against peaceful Iranian protestors in a 2009 uprising.
    
In Syria, more than 350 people have been killed since the protests began several weeks ago.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari chastised the U.N., saying "the Security Council shouldn't rely on media reports."

"We want the unrest to end," he told reporters. "We, too, we regret that there have been some casualties among the civilians."

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