The leaders of the US, UK, France and Germany have all called for Syria's president Bashar al-Assad to step down over his crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. So far, about 2,000 civilians have died in the violence.
"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," US president Barack Obama said in a statement that slammed the Syrian leader for failing to make way for a democratic transition despite a mounting call by his people.
Obama said the future of Syria must be determined by its people, but 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.
We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led," Obama said while announcing a series of sanctions, including those in the energy sector.
The strong US statement came along with similar calls from France, Germany and the UK asking Assad to go.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel and British PM David Cameron in a joint statement asked Assad to leave in the best interests of his nation.