President Obama was joined by David Cameron of Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany, as well as the EU in demanding that Bashar al Assad must step down.
Obama said the Syrian people's pursuit of democracy was an inspiration that had been met with "ferocious brutality" by their government.
The Syrian people must determine their own future but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people."
For the sake of the Syrian people the time has come for President Assad to step aside."
Catherine Ashton, the EU Foreign Policy Chief said there had been a "complete loss of Bashar al Assad's legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people".
Obama said the US was stepping up sanctions against Syria, including freezing its assets and banning petroleum products of Syrian origin, to put pressure on Assad to leave office. But he insisted that the US will not impose this transition upon Syria.
However to deprive the regime of its funding sources, I hope that France, Germany and Italy would stop buying Syrian crude oil. The regime receives between7 to 8 million US Dollars a day from oil export revenues. Isolating the regime and cutting its money supply would help to weaken its ability to finance its military operations against its own people.
Following these strong words from the US and EU leaders, I believe the Syrian people are now a step closer to freedom. Internally the Syrian Baathist regime has ruled Syria with an iron fist since 1970. The regime used fear, torture and brutal military force to subdue the people. The shameless regime has become a master of deception and mendacity. It lied to its own people, to the Americans and to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu and most recently to Ban Ki-moon the UN Secretary-general.
Since March and until a week or so ago, the Arab world had remained shamefully silent over the atrocities. The Arab League was almost apologetic and said nothing critical of the Syrian regime. The killing continued and it has now reached over 2000 dead and some 15000 detained. However things changed in the last couple of weeks. Saudi Arabia condemned the killing, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Tunisia and Jordan followed suit.
I have written recently that only "America Can Stop the Slaughter in Syria" I argued that Bashar al Assad and his gang must face trial for crimes against humanity. I asked how many more massacres have to be committed by Bashar al Assad and his gang before America takes the lead in putting an end to the slaughter in Syria. How many have to die before the UN takes a firm and decisive stand against the Damascus regime which is terrorising its own people.
The regime has committed crimes against humanity. The crimes of the Syrian regime are in breach of articles 7 and 8 of the ICC Treaty which covers murder, torture, kidnapping, wilful killing of civilians, multiple acts of murder or persecution committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population. The deliberate decisions to use gun-boats against Latakia and anti-aircraft guns against residential buildings are crimes against humanity.
I demanded that the UN Security Council must convene to secure a resolution calling for Bashar al Assad to step down and be arrested to face trial by the ICC for crimes against his own people. The US must exert pressure on China and Russia to prevent a veto or a watered-down Security Council Resolution.
It is obvious to everyone that Bashar al Assad and his henchmen are not interested in human rights or reforms. They are totally focused on power, money and survival of the regime even if this means a civil war and a blood bath. The choice was clear reform or repression. The regime chose the latter.
I am glad that the Obama Administration has finally taken the right decision to demand that Bashar al Assad steps down and let the Syrian people decide their own future.
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