Obama says U.S. appalled by Syria brutality

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Sunday he was appalled by the Syrian government’s use of violence against its people in the city of Hama and promised to work with others to isolate President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian tanks firing shells and machine guns stormed Hama on Sunday, killing 80 civilians.

“The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“Once again, President Assad has shown that he is completely incapable and unwilling to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people. His use of torture, corruption and terror puts him on the wrong side of history and his people.”

Obama said Syrian demonstrators would determine the country’s future and that the U.S. government would stand by them.

“Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward,” Obama said.

“In the days ahead, the United States will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people.”

Obama said earlier this month that Assad had “lost legitimacy” for failing to lead a democratic transition in his country, but stopped short of explicitly calling for him to step down.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Doina Chiacu