Really? It's an absolutely laughable statement considering that Syrians continue dying at the hands of his security forces, so it's not like the crackdown actually ended. 25 Syrians died in multiple incidents across the country as President Obama made his strongest statements to date calling for Assad to step down:
At least 15 people were killed in the central governorate of Homs, eight in the port city of Latakia and the eastern town of Deir al-Zour, and one in each of the provinces of Hama and Idlib, Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said today. Protesters held evening rallies in Aleppo, Hama and suburbs of the capital, Damascus, they said.
In Washington, Obama said that "for the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside." Citing "ferocious brutality" and "the Assad government's flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people," Obama announced sanctions freezing Syrian assets in the U.S., banning the import of Syrian petroleum products and prohibiting U.S. investment in Syria.
Assad will shrug off Obama's statements, just as he has done at every step of the way. He's utilizing the Hama rules to its full effect, and mere words will not force Assad from power.
It will take force, and thus far the opposition groups have not risen up in the way that the Libyans have done.
There's no reason for Assad to consider stepping down because he hasn't experienced the kind of uprising that forced Mubarak from power. His police state has been more thorough and pervasive than Egypt.