Jan. 17 - U.S. President Obama calls Syria's continuing crackdown on protesters unacceptable and repeats call for Assad to leave power. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday (January 17) condemned as "unacceptable" Syria's continuing crackdown on protesters and repeated his call for President Bashar al-Assad's government to leave power. After talks at the White House with Jordan's King Abdullah, Obama thanked Jordan for its support in encouraging peaceful transition in Syria. "I want to thank him for his willingness to stand up. As a consequence, Jordan's been part of an overall Arab League effort to encourage the sort of peaceful transition inside of Syria that is needed," Obama said. "Unfortunately, we're continuing to see unacceptable levels of violence inside that country, and so we will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside so that a more democratic process of transition can take place inside of Syria," he said. U.N. officials say more than 5,000 people have been killed in the violence across Syria and the government says 2,000 members of its security forces have died. The Arab League has an observer team inside Syria monitoring implementation of a League plan to end 10 months of bloodshed. The 165 monitors are expected to report that Damascus has not fully implemented a peace plan agreed on November 2. Arab foreign ministers are set to discuss the team's future on January 22.