Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, offered the strongest sign yet that the Obama administration is seeking the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"Syria would be better off without Assad," Rice said in a Twitter post Wednesday. "He’s lost his legitimacy."
The statement came amid reports that the Obama administration, along with European allies, was readying a direct call for Assad’s ouster because of his increasingly brutal crackdown on democracy protesters. In a tweet minutes earlier, Rice said that the U.N. Security Council would meet soon on Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last month that Assad was "not indispensable" and that the United States was not invested in keeping him in power.