Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

An overly optimistic plan?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

#NYPD Fail

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Soaring iPhone sales in China boost Apple earnings

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tutu cautions ANC: South African peace laureate criticises ruling party

Read more

  • Ukraine troops launch assault on rebel stronghold, take checkpoint

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Middle east

US slaps sanctions on President Assad

©

Video by Lucy FIELDER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-18

The US announced Wednesday it was slapping sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (pictured) in response to the escalation of the bloody crackdown on his opponents. It is the first time such sanctions personally target the Syrian leader.

AP - The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior Syrian officials for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for actions of his security forces.

The White House announced the sanctions Wednesday, a day before President Barack Obama delivers a major speech on the uprisings throughout the Arab world. The speech is expected to include prominent mentions of Syria.
 
The Obama administration had pinned hopes on Assad, seen until recent months as a pragmatist and potential reformer who could buck Iranian influence and help broker an eventual Arab peace deal with Israel.
 
But U.S. officials said Assad’s increasingly brutal crackdown left them little choice but to abandon the effort to woo Assad, and to stop exempting him from the same sort of sanctions already applied to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
 
In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama said he issued the new sanctions order as a response to the Syrian government’s “continuous escalation of violence against the people of Syria.”
 
Obama cited “attacks on protesters, arrests and harassment of protesters and political activists, and repression of democratic change, overseen and executed by numerous elements of the Syrian government.”
 
The sanctions will freeze any assets Assad and the six Syrian government officials have in U.S. jurisdiction and make it illegal for Americans to do business with them. The U.S. had imposed similar sanctions on two of Assad’s relatives and another top Syrian official last month but had thus far refrained from going after Assad himself.
 
“The actions the administration has taken today send an unequivocal message to President Assad, the Syrian leadership and regime insiders that they will be held accountable for the ongoing violence and repression in Syria,” said David S. Cohen, Treasury’s acting under secretary for terrorism, said in a statement.
 
“President al-Assad and his regime must immediately end the use of violence, answer the calls of the Syrian people for a more representative government and embark upon the path of meaningful democratic reform,” Cohen said.
 
Treasury officials could give no estimate on how much in Assad’s assets were located in the United States that would be frozen by the new sanctions order.
 
The U.S. move came as Assad said earlier Wednesday that his security forces had made mistakes during the two-month uprising and blamed poorly trained police at least in part for the crackdown that has killed more than 850 people.
 
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was increasingly alarmed by developments in Syria and called out Assad and his allies for failing to follow through on earlier pledges of reform.
 
“They have embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally, and they have refused to honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people in Syria,” Clinton told reporters. “President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intentions.”
 
Clinton’s pointed accusation about Assad bearing personal responsibility for the repression came as the White House ramped up its criticism of his rule.
 
White House press secretary Jay Carney said democratic change had to come to Syria.
 
“The recent events in Syria we believe prove that the country cannot go back to the status quo ante,” he said. “Syria’s future will only be secured by a government that reflects the popular will of its people.”
 
 

 

Date created : 2011-05-18

  • SYRIA

    West warns of further steps if Syria crackdown continues

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Mass grave found near Deraa, villagers say

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Death toll rises as troops shell Syrian border town

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)