US urges Syria stop violence against demonstrators

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, April 22 Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:46pm EDT

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, April 22 (Reuters) - The White House on Friday urged the Syrian government to stop its violence against demonstrators and called on Damascus to follow through on promised reforms.

The comments came as Syrian security forces shot to death dozens of protesters in the bloodiest day in a month of escalating demonstrations against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking to reporters as President Barack Obama flew back to Washington from California, said, "We deplore the use of violence."

He called on the Syrian government to "cease and desist in the use of violence against protesters" and to follow through on promised reforms. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott)