U.S. Threatens Additional Syria Sanctions as Violent Crackdowns Continue

The White House is welcoming the European Union's decision to sanction Syrian officials for cracking down on anti-government protesters; at least 27 reportedly killed on Friday.

News Agencies
News Agencies

The United States and its international partners will take "additional steps" against the
Syrian government unless it stops killing and harassing its people, the White House said on Friday.

The White House is welcoming the European Union's decision to sanction Syrian officials for cracking down on anti-government protesters.

Syrian protesters march through the streets in Homs May 6, 2011 in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website.Credit: Reuters

A human rights activist said Syrian security forces killed at least 27 demonstrators on Friday as protests erupted throughout the country, including Damascus and its suburbs.

The EU said the organization next week will freeze the assets of 13 Syrian government officials and ban them from traveling anywhere in the European Union. Syrian President Bashar Assad will not be affected.

The decision to impose sanctions came on the same day the United Nations issued a statement saying it would be sending a team to Syrian protest epicenter Daraa after receiving approval from the Syrian government. Syria consented to the visit on condition that a Syrian representative would oversee the team.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama imposed financial penalties against three top Syrian officéas, Syria's intelligence agency and Iran's Revolutionary Guard over the violent crackdown on demonstrators in Syria.

Witnesses said Syrian security forces fired on protesters Friday as thousands joined nationwide demonstrations demanding an end to Assad's regime.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "the Syrian people, like people everywhere, have the inherent right to exercise their universal freedoms, including peaceful assembly, expression, and speech. The Syrian government must respond to the Syrian people's call for change. It must realize that violence and intimidation will not answer their call."

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