Assad 311 reuters.
(photo credit: reuters)
Syria condemned on Thursday sanctions imposed by Washington on Syrian President Bashar Assad and other officials in response to a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
An official source on Syrian state television said the sanctions were targeting the Syrian people and served Israeli interests. "The sanctions have not and will not affect Syria's independent will," the source was quoted as saying.
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anti-Syria measures threatened over crackdown
On Wednesday, the Obama administration sanctioned Assad, turning up the heat on the embattled leader the day before US
President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy speech, expected to take a harsher
line against Damascus.
Until now, the US has avoided personally targeting
Assad, either by sanctions or by rhetoric. In addition to Wednesday’s
financial moves, which freeze any US assets belonging to Assad, American
officials intensified their criticism of the leader.
“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 Cohen, acting under
secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
“President 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.”
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In a letter to members of Congress, many
of whom welcomed the sanctions, Obama said they came in response to the
“continuous escalation of violence against the people of
Additionally, a US official speaking on condition of anonymity warned that “President Assad has a clear
choice: either to lead this transition to democracy or to leave.”Hilary L. Krieger contributed to this report.
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