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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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