US President Barack Obama speaks on the phone 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters / White House)
- The United States is certain that Syrian President Bashar Assad is
"on his way out," a senior US official told reporters in a conference
call on Thursday.
Palestinian factions reconsider relations with Assad
Activists: Syrian forces kill nine people in Homs
A second US official said that Washington was
confident that US sanctions on Syria announced earlier by the White
House would be followed by similar actions by other countries.
The Obama administration on Thursday imposed fresh sanctions on Syria's
government, freezing any of its assets in the United States as well as
banning petroleum products of Syrian origin.
The latest round of
sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad and his government
prohibit US entities, wherever located, from engaging in any
transactions or dealings with Syrian petroleum products.
administration also blacklisted a new round of Syrian companies,
including the state-owned General Petroleum Corporation that controls
the country's oil and gas industry.
US President Barack Obama on Thursday said it was time for Assad to
resign, and said the United States was implementing tough new sanctions
to help end violence in Syria.
"The future of Syria must be
determined by its people, but President Bashar Assad is standing in
their way," Obama said in a statement. "His calls for dialogue and
reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and
slaughtering his own people.
"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."
The European Union also told Assad to step down Thursday.
The EU's 27 governments also threatened to extend its sanctions against Assad's government but, unlike Washington, stopped short of announcing specific new measures for now.
"The EU has repeatedly emphasized that the brutal repression must be stopped ... The Syrian leadership, however, has remained defiant," the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
"This shows that the Syrian regime is unwilling to change ... The EU notes the complete loss of Bashar Assad's legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and the necessity for him to step aside," she said.