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US call for Syrian President Assad departure imminent

US call for Syrian President Assad departure imminent
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Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 2:10am

U.S. officials say the Obama administration is ready to make an explicit call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power and has notified Arab and European allies that an announcement is imminent.

The officials stressed the timing is in flux but said preparations are in place for the White House and then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday to demand Assad's departure. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the matter.

The announcement was initially planned for last week but was postponed. The officials noted that since then, more countries have condemned the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on reformers and questioned his legitimacy. Clinton has said the U.S. must act in concert with others to be effective.

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