News / USA

White House Steps Up Pressure on Syrian Government

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

The United States is stepping up pressure on the Syrian government to end its violent response to protesters.  The White House for the first time said Monday that targeted sanctions are among a range of options the president is considering.

During the past month, the White House has issued five statements about violence in Syria, either directly from President Barack Obama or through his press secretary or the National Security Council, or NSC.

The latest came on Monday in an email from NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor. He called the violence by the Syrian government against its people "completely deplorable" and said the United States is pursuing a range of possible policy options.

Vietor said steps might include targeted sanctions to "make clear that this behavior is unacceptable."  He added that "the Syrian people’s call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard."

At a White House news briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney referred to President Obama's statement last Friday in which he demanded that "outrageous" violence by Syria's government against protesters come to an end.

In last week's statement, Mr. Obama called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to "heed the calls of his own people," but he did not say the Syrian leader should step down.  He accused Mr. Assad of "blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance" in repressing Syria's citizens.

On possible new sanctions, Press Secretary Carney declined to give specifics, noting that the United States has had what, he called, a "fairly aggressive" regime of sanctions in place against Syria.  U.S. sanctions are being applied under the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act of 2004.  Syria is also on the U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism."

Initial U.S. and international steps on Libya included financial sanctions targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and officials around him.   Carney had this response when asked whether additional sanctions against Syria might mirror those imposed on Libya:

"We are certainly looking at different ways to make clear to the Syrian government how appalling we find this behavior to be, and to encourage them - both as we have in speaking out against it, but in other means - to stop the violence and to move towards serious reform," he said.

Despite the strong condemnation of Syrian government actions last week, President Obama has not suggested that President Assad has lost the confidence of his people, as Mr. Obama did in the case of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Mr. Obama's spokesman told reporters on Monday it is up to the Syrian people to decide who their leader should be.  Jay Carney also repeated the response the Obama administration has given in each situation of Mideast and North African unrest, that "each country is different."

Carney avoided a direct answer to a question about consultations the United States is having with European countries regarding Syrian sanctions.  What the United States can do now, he said, is express its views very clearly, and review possible unilateral actions it can take to respond to the situation.

Related video report by Chris Simkins:

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid