News / Middle East

US Sanctions Syria for Human Rights Abuses

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, addresses the Parliament, in Damascus, Syria (File Photo - March 30, 2011)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, addresses the Parliament, in Damascus, Syria (File Photo - March 30, 2011)
Kent Klein

The United States on Wednesday invoked sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior officials in his government for human rights abuses.  

Administration officials announced the sanctions one day before President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a major speech on the recent Middle East uprisings.

President Obama expanded existing sanctions against Syria’s government and blocked top officials’ assets in the United States and its jurisdictions.  The president’s executive order also bars U.S. individuals or companies from dealing with those officials.

It is the first time that the U.S. government has targeted President Assad personally with sanctions.

This amateur video image shot on April 24, 2011 and made available by SHAAM News Network and posted on Youtube, May 12, 2011, shows two men crawling close to the ground and dragging a woman to safety in Daraa, Syria
This amateur video image shot on April 24, 2011 and made available by SHAAM News Network and posted on Youtube, May 12, 2011, shows two men crawling close to the ground and dragging a woman to safety in Daraa, Syria

The order charges that numerous elements of the Syrian government have overseen and carried out attacks on protesters, harassed demonstrators and political activists, and repressed democratic change.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that further sanctions would be imminent, if Syrian officials did not stop the violent crackdown.

“The window is narrowing for the Syrian government to shift focus away from repressing its people and towards meeting the legitimate aspirations of its people," said Carney. "And as I said, we are looking at additional measures that we can take, and we continue to enforce the measures already taken.”

Obama’s executive order targets President Assad, Vice President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, the interior and defense ministers, the head of Syria’s military intelligence and the director of the country's political security agency.

Activists in Syria say that at least 700 civilians have been killed since protests against Assad’s rule began two months ago.

Obama imposed a first round of sanctions against Syria last month, aimed at Syria’s intelligence agency and two of Assad’s relatives.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Stability of Middle East

Ancient dispute that traces back to the Islamic Revolution fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observer say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid