Obama calls on Syria’s Assad to step down

Al Jazeera reports:

International pressure is mounting on Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, with the United States calling for his resignation and the United Nations claiming Syria’s use of force against anti-government protests may constitute crimes against humanity.

In a written statement on Thursday, President Barack Obama said: “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way … For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Obama said the US “cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria” but will support “an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition”.

Obama said Syrians “have spoken with their peaceful marches” and that the Syrian government “has responded with a sustained onslaught”.

“I strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir ez-Zor, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime,” the president’s statement said.

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