The United States is demanding that Syria's government stop brutalizing peaceful opponents, citing an attack on the country's the most popular cartoonist and longtime human rights advocate.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says in a statement issued late Thursday that the attackers focused on Ali Ferzat's hands, beating them furiously and breaking one of them. Nuland said the message was clear that he should stop drawing.
The statement comes a week after President Barack Obama demanded explicitly that Syria's President Bashar Assad resign because he had lost legitimacy as a ruler. That demand was in conjunction with similar moves by major U.S. allies such as Britain, France, Germany and the European Union.