U.S. Imposes New Sanctions On Syria
Friday marked the latest set of protests on another "day of rage" in the country, which is protesting President Bashar al-Assad. According to eyewitness reports, government security forces killed more civilians on Friday, pushing the death toll even higher.
President Obama signed a White House executive order for the new sanctions.
From the Wall Street Journal:
“I have determined that the Government of Syria’s human rights abuses… constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and warrant the imposition of additional sanctions,” wrote President Barack Obama in a letter to House and Senate leadership.
In the past six weeks, human rights groups say Assad’s government has killed more than 500 people.
Monday’s Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was preparing this executive order but the officials quoted in the story said it would be ready in the coming weeks. It took five days; the order went into effect at 1 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
Named in the executive order are Assad’s brother Mahir, his cousin Atif Najib, Ali Mamluk, the civilian intelligence service and the Iranian Quds force, which the U.S. says is providing material support to the Syrian government to conduct the crackdown.
In addition to the sanctions on Syria, the Obama administration is putting increasing pressure on international forces to do the same.
"In addition to actions that we are taking, the United States believes that Syria's deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday.
Witnesses said at least 62 people were killed after security forces tired to crush Friday's anti-government protests in the southern city of Daraa. Civilians were also reported dead in Homs, in the center of the country.