Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy and is "not indispensable," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday as tension soared over an assault by Assad loyalists on the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus.
Clinton condemned the Syrian attacks and said Washington did not believe the long-time Syrian ruler would follow through on his promises to reform in the face of escalating protests against his rule.
"From our perspective, he has lost legitimacy, he has failed to deliver on the promises he's made, he has sought and accepted aid from the Iranians as to how to repress his own people," Clinton told reporters in an appearance with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Washington.
Clinton's comments marked a significant sharpening of U.S. rhetoric on Assad, whose security forces have waged an increasingly brutal crackdown against protesters inspired by pro-democracy movements elsewhere in the Arab world.
Several Assad loyalists broke into the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday and security guards used live ammunition to prevent hundreds from storming the French embassy, Western diplomats in the Syrian capital said.
They said the attackers tore down U.S. embassy plaques and tried to break security glass in protests fuelled by the government against a visit by U.S. and French ambassadors to the city of Hama, focus of protests against Assad's rule.
One of the diplomats said: "This is a violent escalation by the regime. You do not bring busloads of thugs into central Damascus from the coast without its consent."
A French foreign ministry official said the Syrian authorities had done nothing to stop the assault.
"(France) reminds (Syria) that it is not with such illegal methods that the authorities in Damascus will turn the attention away from the fundamental problem, which is to stop the repression of the Syrian population and to launch democratic reform," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
France has led Western attempts to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria's hierarchy for cracking down on protesters. It says the president has lost legitimacy because of the number of killings to try to quell the protests demanding political freedoms after 41 years of Assad family rule.
"Four buses full of shabbiha (Alawite militia loyal to Assad) came from Tartous. They used a battering ram to try to break into the main door," a resident of Afif, the old district where the French embassy is located, told Reuters by telephone.
The United States, which sees Syria as a fragile but crucial element of any lasting Middle East peace equation, had been reluctant to take that step, but Clinton's comments on Monday indicated Washington's patience had run out.
"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," Clinton said.
"President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power."
The United States condemned Syria for "refusing" to protect the embassy from an assault it said had been encouraged by a pro-government television station, and called in a senior Syrian diplomat to deliver a formal complaint.
Meanwhile, a prominent Syrian dissident says the country's opposition will form a shadow government.
Speaking in Turkey, the former judge Haitham Al-Maleh said the aim of this shadow government was to help steer the country towards free elections and a new constitution.
"Each shadow minister will have a portfolio and a team of people working on specific goals," Haitham Al-Maleh said.
"All the Syrian people know that Assad's regime will eventually collapse and therefore we must prepare ourselves."
Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people suspected of belonging to the ISIL including at least 65 Saudi nationals, the interior ministry said in a statement carried on the official Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.
Syria's defence minister has started an official visit to Iran, Lebanon's al-Manar television said on Tuesday.
The committee, in a press conference on Monday, declared the provinces of Aden, Taizz and Ad Dali as disaster zones, and said that around nine million Yemenis are in need for urgent humanitarian aid.
Anti-Assad fighters claim to control over 60 percent of northern city.
Explosions could be heard up to 2 hours after the strikes, with food and medical supplies runninglow
Khaled Koutineh’s wife insists the accident was caused by the bad weather at the time and he has no interest in politics.
With the Saudi alliance hitting Yemeni targets, Iranian commander of the Revolutionary guard has hit out Saudi Arabia accusing them of following in the steps of Israel
According to Al Jazeera, Saudi Prince Fahad Al Saud hopes a new generation of games will end negative portrayals of Arab communities.
The United Arab Emirates is one of several Arab states participating in the Saudi coalition in Yemen.
The strike was called for by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel, which represents the interests of Palestinians in the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
The Israeli army allege that the detained Palestinians were suspects in terror attacks on Israel
Syrian state media said the army had inflicted heavy casualties on rebels in the area and launched air strikes, but did not say the base had fallen.
Zarif and Kerry will meet to discuss negotiations on a landmark nuclear deal with the United States and five other global powers as they try to secure a final agreement with Iran by a June 30 deadline.
The troops arrived to protect the southern border of Saudi Arabia against any potential threats side by side with other Saudi army troops
Former president sentenced to 20 years in jail after biased trial, says Human Rights Watch
On Friday, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said that over the past ten months, his country had recovered a total of 221 artifacts that had been previously smuggled to the US, Australia, Germany and Denmark.