Assad Intensifies Crackdown Amid Turkish-US Ultimatum

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Context

As his troops and tanks entered the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, leaving 100 civilians dead in a single day, Turkey and the US on Sunday started turning the heat on Bashar al-Assad. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to push Damascus to “return its military to the barracks,” when he visits Syria on Tuesday. Behind this demand was a warning that if the Syrian president continued his ongoing bloody crackdown, NATO member Turkey would’ve to intervene militarily in the conflict. However, al-Assad with support from Iran rejected the ultimatum even before Davutoglu reached Syria, stepping up the assault on Deir al-Zour for a second day.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait announced on Monday they were recalling their ambassadors from Syria to protest against the government’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.