White House: Matter of time before Assad falls

February 12, 2012 - 10:45 AM
Mideast Egypt Syria

Syrian youth chant slogans beneath a revolutionary flag outside an anti-Syrian regime protest tent in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's chief of staff says it's only a matter of time before the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad collapses.

Jacob Lew says the U.S. and its allies have brought "serious financial pressure" on Syria and that Assad's government is "feeling it."

While the violence continues as rebels try to topple Assad, Lew says the transition "from tyranny to democracy is very hard." Lew says the Syrian people "have to handle this in a way that works in Syria."

Lew tells "Fox News Sunday" that "the brutality of the Assad regime is unacceptable and has to end." He says the U.S. is pursuing "all avenues that we can" and that "there is no question that this regime will come to an end. The only question is when."