Washington: Renewing its charges that President Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy, the US has
asked the Syrian government to immediately halt its "deadly actions" against protesters and release the detainees.

"We urge President Assad's government to immediately halt its deadly actions against peaceful protesters, to release the detainees, and to respect and act upon the clear demands of the Syrian people for a peaceful and democratic transition to democracy," State Department spokesperson
Victoria Nuland said.

"This transition would be a positive step for Syria, the region, and the world," she said, adding the US condemns the violence in Syria, particularly the brutality practiced by the Syrian government against its own citizens – peaceful protesters and bystanders alike.

"The behavior of Syria's security forces, including other such barbaric shootings, widescale arrests of young men and boys, brutal torture, and other abuses of basic human rights, is reprehensible," Nuland said in a statement.

"President Assad must understand that he is not indispensible and we believe he is the cause of Syria's instability not the key to its stability. The regime should make no mistake that the world is watching and those responsible will be held accountable for their crimes," she said, adding the violence will not suppress the legitimate demands of the Syrian people to exercise their rights and shape their own country’s future.

"It is another clear sign that President Assad has lost legitimacy with the Syrian people, because he is unwilling to lead a democratic transition. The violence perpetrated against innocent civilians only contributes to instability, feeds sectarian tensions and increases the Syrian people's distrust and anger at their government," Nuland said.

In some cities in Syria, people have been taking to the streets since March 15 to demand democratic changes amid a wave of protests across the Arab world.