(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked Tuesday at a press conference about a video that recently surfaced of a 13-year-old Syrian boy who was mutilated and eventually killed during the month he was held by Syrian security forces. The video showed that the swollen, disfigured boy appeared to have been burned with cigarettes and shot multiple times, according to The Washington Post.
Choosing her words carefully, Clinton replied, "I too was very concerned by the reports about the young boy. In fact, what I think that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people, and I think that as the president said in his speech last week, President Assad has a choice, and every day that goes by, the choice is made by default. He has not called an end to the violence against his own people and he has not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts."
Secretary Clinton added, "I have here the name of the young boy whose body was so brutally affected by the behavior and conduct of those who had him in detention -- Hamza Ali al-Khateeb -- and I can only hope that this child did not die in vain, but that the Syrian government will end the brutality and begin a transition to real democracy.”
When asked if the Syrian government has lost its legitimacy, Clinton answered:
“Well that’s up the Syrian people themselves, we’ve obviously along with others imposed sanctions, spoken out. We’ve closely coordinated with allies and partners, we’ve imposed an arms embargo, we’ve led the call for a special session in the United Nations but I think that every day that goes by, the position of the government becomes less tenable and the demands of the Syrian people for change only grow stronger. And therefore, we continue to urge an end to the violence and the commencement of a real process that could lead to the kind of changes that are called for.”
The Washington Post reported that since the video's release, demonstrations have flared up in cities across Syria, condemning the torture and murder of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb. However, the Syrian government has given no indication it would adopt the reforms sought by the international community.
Copyright 2011 ABC News