US Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton urged a transition to democracy in Syria on Saturday saying that the government's violent crackdown on protesters would not stop the change underway in the country.
"It is increasingly clear that President (Bashar) al-Assad has made his choice. While continued brutality may allow him to delay the change taking place in Syria, it will not reverse it," Clinton wrote in the regional daily Asharq Al-Awsat, DPA reported.
Anti-government protests began in March demanding greater freedoms, reforms and the ouster of al-Assad. The violent crackdown on protesters has left over 1,300 civilians and more than 300 soldiers and police dead, according to Syrian rights groups.
"If President al-Assad believes the protests are instigated by foreign elements - as his government claimed - he is wrong," she wrote. "He and his regime are certainly not indispensable."
She said that Syria was heading towards a new political system and that "the Syrian people should be the one to shape it."
Her piece came one day after at least 19 people were killed in Syria as security used force and live ammunition against protesters.
"By following Iran's lead, President al-Assad is placing himself and his regime on the wrong side of history. He will learn that legitimacy flows from the consent of the people and cannot be forged through bullets."
Clinton also said the United States "stands by the Syrian people and its international rights."
The United States said on Friday that it was exploring new measures to pressure the government to stop the violence, including a possible war-crimes referral against President al-Assad.