The White House on Friday condemned violence against protesters in Syria and Yemen and called for peaceful negotiations toward democratic change in those countries.
Speaking to reporters, Press Secretary Jay Carney repeated what has been the Obama administration response to months of violence between governments and protesters across the Mideast.
“We strongly condemn the Syrian government's attempts to repress and intimidate demonstrators,” he told reporters.
Syrian forces reportedly opened fire on protesters in several towns as thousands shouted "Freedom!" in support of an uprising in the southern city of Dara, according to news reports from the region. At least 15 people were killed there earlier this week in demonstrations against the government of President Bashar Assad.
At least two deaths were reported on Friday in Syria, one in Latakia and the other in the central city of Homs.
The United States and Syria have had strained relations in the past, but Carney said the Obama administration wanted to make its opposition to violence known. “We are making it clear from here and from other places what our position is,” he said.
Carney was also critical about the situation in Yemen where at least 50 have been killed and hundreds injured in recent weeks during anti-government protests calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
The violence is “not acceptable,” Carney said. The White House “urges the leaders of these countries to pursue peace [and] political dialogue with broad swaths of their country,” he said.