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U.S. threatens more pressure on Syria's Assad


13:53, December 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday reiterated its call that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down, threatening to put more pressure on his government if the newly-signed peace deal cannot be fully implemented, said a White House statement.

"If the Arab League initiative is once again not fully implemented, the international community will take additional steps to pressure the Assad regime to stop its crackdown," said the White House.

The statement came after Syria signed on Monday a peace plan brokered by the Arab League aiming to end the violence in the Arab nation, under which the regional bloc will send monitors to conduct a field study of the situation in Syria.

Despite the peace deal, White House still insisted in the statement that the "only way to bring about the change that the Syrian people deserve is for Bashar al-Assad to leave power."

The White House also accused the Assad government of " flagrantly" violating its commitment to end violence and withdraw security forces from residential areas, only two days after the signing of the Arab League initiative.

It called for the immediate and full implementation of the Arab League agreement, including "the full withdrawal of security forces, the release of political prisoners, and unfettered access by monitors and international media to all parts of Syria."

"The Assad regime is already facing growing isolation and sanctions that are choking off its resources," said the White House. "Bashar al-Assad should have no doubt that the world is watching, and neither the international community nor the Syrian people accept his legitimacy."

Syria was plunged into turmoil in mid-March when anti- government protests broke out, and clashes between protesters and security forces have resulted in more than 5,000 deaths, as the United Nations figure shows.

The Arab League and Turkey have joined the U.S. and European countries in imposing targeted sanctions on Syria, in the hope of pressing it to end violence on protesters.

The Syrian government blamed "armed groups and foreign conspiracy" for the turmoil in the country.

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