Political leaders across the Middle East have concluded that the Syrian strongman is doomed after eight months of bloodshed since the uprising against his rule erupted in March, US officials have said.
Jeffrey Feltman, a US assistant secretary of state, told a Senate committee that a number of states had signalled their willingness to give Mr Assad refuge and immunity from prosecution in the hope of bringing a rapid resolution to the Syrian crisis.
"Almost all the Arab leaders and foreign ministers whom I talk to say the same thing: Assad's rule is coming to an end," he said. "It is inevitable. Some of these Arabs have even begun to offer Assad safe haven to encourage him to leave."
Mr Feltman did not identify which states were willing to take in the Syrian leader, but political figures in the region gave warning that time was running out for Mr Assad to make a decision.
"He basically has two options," a Jordanian official said. "He can either stay in Syria and die in ignominy with his body being dragged through the streets and his country facing bloody chaos. "Or he can choose salvation, both for himself and for Syria, and live a quiet life abroad."