Washington has hardened its stance towards Syria’s president, saying he had lost legitimacy after failing to protect the US embassy in Damascus from attack by government loyalists.
Talking to reporters, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rounded on the Syrian leader. “If anyone, including President Assad, thinks that the United States is secretly hoping that the regime will emerge from this turmoil to continue its brutality and repression, they are wrong.
“President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power,” she said.
Syrian officials quoted by Reuters responded on Tuesday by strongly condemning Clinton’s comments, adding they were “provocative” and “proof of interference” by the US in Syria.
After the incident at the US embassy, there was a second assault on the French embassy in the Syrian capital, in which three staff were injured.
The US and French ambassadors recently angered the Syrian government when they visited the city of Hama last week in order to show solidarity with anti-Assad protesters.