News / Middle East

EU Leaders Threaten Syria with More Sanctions, Urge Assad to Resign

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)

The European Union has threatened more sanctions against Syria if the government crackdown on dissent continues.

EU leaders warned Damascus Sunday they "will impose further and more comprehensive measures against the regime" as long as the government continues to repress the civilian population.

The European bloc already has an embargo on crude oil imports from Syria, has banned investment in the country's oil sector, and has forbidden EU-based operators from participating in joint ventures with Syrian companies or providing credits and loans.

The effect of these measures has been blunted by Russia and China's block of a U.N. Security Council resolution that could have led to broader action.

The EU Sunday also issued a fresh call for Mr. Assad to "step aside" and called the creation of the Syrian National Council "a positive step forward." It said the Syrian people must be able to define their future "without fear of repression."

U.S. Senator John McCain went even further Sunday, saying military action to protect Syrian civilians may be possible now that NATO's air campaign in Libya is ending.

McCain said Mr. Assad's government "should not consider that it can get away with mass murder." He noted that Libya's ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi made that mistake and it "cost him everything."

The influential Republican senator, speaking Sunday in Jordan, also charged that "dark forces in the region, especially in Iran, are working to hijack the promise of...the Arab Spring." McCain said these concerns "are real and legitimate and merit our vigilance."

Most Syrian opposition groups have said they oppose military intervention, and NATO allies have shown little inclination for mounting such a campaign in another Arab state. There also is real concern that Mr. Assad's ouster would spread chaos around the region.

Earlier Sunday, the Syrian leader replaced governors in two provinces that have had months of protests against his 11-year rule. Syria's state news agency said the president appointed Hussein Makhlouf to run the rural areas surrounding Damascus, and Yasser al-Shoufi to govern northern Idlib province, near Turkey.

Mr. Assad has fired several other provincial governors since nationwide protests erupted in March. The United Nations says his ongoing crackdown has killed more than 3,000 people. The government says terrorist gangs have killed hundreds of security personnel in the unrest.

In the latest violence, rights groups said government forces shot and killed two people in the central province of Hama early Sunday. Activists said security forces also broke up an opposition protest strike in southern Daraa province that began Thursday.

There was no independent confirmation of the strike or the latest violence. Syria has barred most international media from operating in the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid