WASHINGTON The White House on Wednesday condemned all acts of violence in Syria, including attacks by insurgents on supporters of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, such as an assault on a pro-government television station in Damascus.
"We condemn all acts of violence, including those targeting pro-regime elements," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular daily news briefing. He called on all parties to end hostilities in Syria.
Gunmen stormed a pro-government Syrian TV channel headquarters on Wednesday, bombing buildings and shooting dead three employees, state media said, in one of the boldest attacks yet on a symbol of the authoritarian state.
Assad declared late on Tuesday that his country was "at war." Carney, asked about this comment, agreed that the situation in Syria was dire but said it was the result of Assad's efforts to try to "cling on to power at all costs."
"The brutality that's being leveled against the Syrian people is of his own doing," Carney said.
Carney said the United States was working with its international partners to keep up the pressure on Assad to step aside and looked forward to a meeting of world powers in Geneva on Saturday to try to find a way to solve the crisis.
Washington is committed to a political transition in Syria that "cannot, because of the choices he made, include Assad," Carney said.
"There is not a great deal of time here for the international community to come together and act before the situation there potentially dissolves into a broader sectarian civil war with implications for the region," he said.
International mediator Kofi Annan said he will hold a ministerial-level meeting on Syria in Geneva on Saturday with the aim of seeking an end to the violence and agreeing on principles for a "Syrian-led political transition."
Foreign ministers from the global powers and Middle East countries will attend the Geneva meeting, called for by Annan to find ways to implement his stalled six-point peace plan and Security Council resolutions, including an immediate halt to all violence.
(Reporting By Susan Cornwell and Samson Reiny; Editing by Vicki Allen)