US President Barack Obama says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy and he has no place in the country’s future.
Obama made the remarks in a meeting with the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Ahmad Jarba, at the White House on Tuesday.
The United States has recently stepped up its military aid to anti-Damascus militants.
According to a White House statement, Jarba also thanked Obama for a total $287 million US aid.
Obama’s remarks come ahead of the presidential election in Syria on June 3. It is the first multi-party election in the Arab country, with Assad seeking a new term.
The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington and its allies have “wasted a year” in Syria by failing to coordinate efforts to overthrow Assad.
In a private meeting with Syrian opposition leaders at the State Department in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, Kerry lamented that the lack of coordination had dramatically set back the drive to remove Assad from power.
The participants said Kerry made the remarks when discussing renewed efforts to direct the flow of both aid and weapons to militants in Syria.
Several State Department officials, at least one National Security Council staffer, and several representatives of the Syrian opposition, including Jarba, were in attendance, according to three participants in the meeting.
Foreign-sponsored extremist groups have been behind many of deadly bomb attacks targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria over the past three years.