U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned the Syrian authorities for the use of force to quell nationwide protests against Bashar Assad's regime.
Western media has circulated reports claiming that at least 88 people were killed on Friday across the country as security forces opened fire and used teargas against demonstrators who demanded political freedoms and an end to corruption.
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators," Obama said in a statement on Friday. "This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now."
Syrian mass protests started in Daraa on the border with Jordan on March 18. They were prompted by the arrest of a group of school students who wrote anti-government mottos on walls. The unrest later spread to other Syrian regions.
At least 300 people have been killed in protests and clashes that have raged in the country since mid-March, according to Syrian opposition.
In response to the protests, Assad formed a new government, promised a score of political and economic reforms, and even lifted on Tuesday the almost five-decade long state of emergency in the country.
However, these measures failed to pacify the opposition prompting the government to resort to violence in dealing with the protesters.
Public protests in the Middle East and North Africa have recently ousted regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and led to a raging civil war in Libya.
WASHINGTON, April 23 (RIA Novosti)