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US, international opinion turns sharply against Syria's Assad

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The US has taken a decisive stand against President Bashar al-Assad after weeks of measured responses to Syria's crackdown on protest, signaling a shift from focusing on regional stability to more actively promoting democratic change, say news reports.

On Tuesday, in response to attacks on the US and French embassies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Mr. Assad has "lost legitimacy" and that the US "had absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power." President Obama reiterated those statements later in the day.

But administration officials told The New York Times that the shift has been "weeks in the making" and could not be attributed merely to Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford's visit to the rebellious city of Hama and the angry Syrian response. Rather, it was a result of Assad's continued brutal crackdown on protesters and the political opposition.

Since the Syrian uprising began in March, rights groups estimate that more than 1,700 people have been killed and at least 20,000 arrested, according to Bloomberg.

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