WASHINGTON, D.C. - White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew says the days are numbered for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The senior adviser to President Obama told Fox News' Chris Wallace this morning that "serious financial pressure" leveled by the US and its partners on Damascus could only lead to a single conclusion.
"There is no question that this regime will come to an end. The only question is when."
The comments came after Lew was asked why the Obama administration had embraced a policy of economic stress against Assad's government, rather than taking direct military action through NATO as it had in Libya.
"The transition from tyranny to democracy is very hard," Lew said. "The Syrian people have to handle this in a way that works in Syria. And the brutality of the Assad regime is unacceptable."
Syria's conflict has deteriorated sharply in recent weeks, raising fears the country is inching closer to civil war.
Today the Arab League is expected to call on the UN Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for the embattled country. The 11-month old crisis has claimed more than 5,000 lives.