WASHINGTON: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is losing his grip on power, the White House said on Tuesday, amidst confirmed reports of the defection of his Prime Minister Riyad Hijab.
"As we've said repeatedly, as we've seen more and more high-level defections, this is a sign that Assad's grip on power is loosening. If he cannot maintain cohesion within his own inner circle, it reflects on his inability to maintain any following among the Syrian people that isn't brought about at the point of a gun," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
Observing that Assad's days are numbered, Carney said the US has no reason to doubt the reports about the defection of the Prime Minister or other members of the government.
"That the titular head of the Syrian government has rejected the ongoing slaughter being carried out at Assad's direction only reinforces that the Assad regime is crumbling from within, and that the Syrian people believe that Assad's days are numbered," he said.
"The momentum is with the opposition and with the Syrian people. It's clear that these defections are reaching the highest levels of the Syrian government, and Assad cannot restore his control over the country because the Syrian people will not allow it," Carney said.
The quickest way to end the bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people is for Assad to step aside, to enable a peaceful political transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Syrian people," he added.
Carney said the longer Assad is in power, the worse the situation gets in Syria. "I can simply say that what we are seeing, as is evidenced by these latest reports, is increasing instability within his leadership and, I think, increasing desperation in his efforts to wage war against his own people," he said. Ends/O