Washington: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fits the definition of a war criminal for the violence he has unleashed on his people.
"I think that based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity there would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category," Hillary said.
Testifying before two Senate committees, Hillary was pressed about the months of strife in Syria that a United Nations official said on Tuesday had killed more than 7,500 people and several lawmakers described as a civil war.
However, Tunisia has now offered asylum to Assad even as more deaths were reported following bombings in Homs.
Senior UN officials said more than 100 civilians are dying in Syria every day. But opposition groups claim the toll is much higher.
Sen Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who has called for arming the rebels challenging Assad, asked whether the international community should consider the Syrian president a war criminal.
Graham said he hoped the world community could persuade Assad to leave eventually.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney reiterated the administration's opposition to arming the rebels.
With Additional Inputs From Agencies