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Clinton: How Do We Help Syrians Defend Themselves?

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Just a few days ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Tunis, Tunisia, meeting her counterparts from dozens of countries and issuing an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar Assad to silence his guns and allow in humanitarian aid.

While in Morocco, before flying home to Washington, D.C., Clinton talked to NPR's Michele Kelemen.

Syrian tanks continue to batter homes, and no aid is getting in. So what are allies of the Syrian people to do?

"We have to continue to consult with those who truly are friends of the Syrian people," Clinton said, "which of course includes the United States and the many governments and organizations that gathered in Tunis on Friday. We are doing everything we can to facilitate humanitarian aid."

She added that the United States and others must continue to "ratchet up the pressure" because Syria "is an increasingly isolated regime."

And, she said, nations must "push for a democratic transition by working with and trying to build up the opposition so they can be an alternative."

Syria is "one of the most highly militarized, best defended countries on Earth," Clinton said, "because of course they spent an enormous amount of money with their Iranian and Russian friends so equipping themselves.

"Even if you were to somehow smuggle in automatic weapons of some kind, you're not going to be very successful against tanks. So the dilemma is how do we try to help people defend themselves ... ?"

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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