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U.S. Says Syria's Assad Increasingly Isolated, Should Step Down

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
The United States says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly isolated, has lost his legitimacy to rule, and should leave office.

The White House statement came on November 14 after Jordan's King Abdullah became the first leader of an Arab nation to urge Assad to step down over the deadly crackdown by his security forces against antiregime demonstrators.

"It is clear that the Assad regime is continuing to be isolated, that the political pressure on them is building," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. "It is clear what the Obama administration's posture is on this -- which is that President Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule and should go. And, certainly, all of the violence that has been perpetrated by the Assad regime against peaceful demonstrators should cease immediately."

The Jordanian ruler's statement, in an interview with the BBC, came days after the Arab League announced it was suspending Syria's membership in the organization for failing to implement a plan aimed at halting the bloodshed.

Also on November 14, the European Union announced it was adding 18 Syrian officials to a list of people targeted with a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with the violence. This brings to 74 the number of Syrians affected by EU sanctions.

Dozens more people were reported killed in Syria on November 14. The United Nations says more than 3,500 people are believed to have died in Syria since the start of antiregime protests in March. Regime authorities have blamed the violence on gangs and militants.

compiled from agency reports