Dec. 3 - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden calls on Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Deborah Gembara reports.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called on Syria's embattled President Bashard al-Assad to step down. Biden is in Istanbul for meetings with Turkish leaders. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden saying: "We stand with Turkey and a growing chorus of nations, in calling for President Assad to step aside. And I welcome the Human Rights Council's condemnation yesterday of the regime's violence." The UN's human rights forum says Syria is responsible for "gross and systematic" violations and has imprisoned at least 14,000 people since the unrest began. Biden's two day trip to Turkey is part of an effort to nurture ties with Ankara. Turkey, a NATO member is considered a strategic ally to the United States in the Middle East. Once a close ally of Syria, Turkey's decision to support Arab League imposed economic sanctions signaled a clear departure with the past. The move also underscored the mounting pressure on Syria to stop its crackdown on protesters. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.