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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More