US president Barack Obama has said Libya is "slipping from the grasp of a tyrant" as the battle between rebels and longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi reached a "tipping point".
In a statement issued from Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where the president is on holiday, Mr Obama said the surest way for the bloodshed to end is for Gaddafi to relinquish power.
He said: "The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people."
This came after rebels seized control of much of Libya's capital, Tripoli.
Mr Obama's statement came after a conference call with his national security team.
He promised to work in close coordination with the rebels and said the US will "continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected".