Obama sharpens rhetoric against Syria's Assad

July 13, 2011 03:29

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad had "lost legitimacy" for failing to lead a democratic transition, but stopped short of explicitly calling on him to step down.

It was the strongest language Obama has used against the Syrian ruler over his harsh crackdown on protests and echoed comments by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a day earlier.

"I think that increasingly you're seeing President Assad lose legitimacy in the eyes of his people," Obama told CBS News in an interview. "He has missed opportunity after opportunity to present a genuine reform agenda."

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