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Obama says Syrian president must go

[ 2011-08-19 10:54]     字号 [] [] []  
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US President Barack Obama on Thursday for the first time called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down after a crackdown by Syrian forces on demonstrations against the Assad family's 41-year reign.

The Obama administration imposed fresh sanctions on Syria's government, freezing assets in the United States as well as banning petroleum products of Syrian origin.

The latest round of sanctions against Assad and his government prohibit US entities, wherever located, from engaging in any transactions or dealings with Syrian petroleum products.

The moves are intended to ratchet up pressure on Assad, who has used his military and security forces to attack protesters seeking an end to four decades of rule by the Syrian president and his late father, Hafez al-Assad.

As well as the growing Western pressure, Assad also faces criticism from regional Arab states and neighboring Turkey over his escalated military campaign against the uprising since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Aug 1.

Although Syrian authorities have announced the army's withdrawal from Hama and Deir al-Zor, residents say military units are still present in those cities. The army is also still deployed in Homs and the coastal city of Latakia.

Hama residents said Syrian forces raided homes in al-Qusour neighborhood overnight, while hundreds of police and militiamen stormed the Rukn al-Din neighborhood of Damascus. In the southern city of Deraa, where the protests first broke out in March, a resident said tanks and armored vehicles stood at entrances of the city and in main squares around Deraa's the old quarter. Security forces raided homes in the Sabeel district overnight, he said.

An UN official said last week that nearly 2,000 Syrian civilians had been killed since the protests began five months ago. Syria has expelled most independent media since the unrest began, making it difficult to verify reports from the country.


1. How long has the Assad family reigned for?

2. Where did Syrian authorities announce a withdrawal from?

3. How many civilians do they UN say have been killed?


1. 41 years.

2. Hama and Dier al-Zor.

3. 2,000.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Obama says Syrian president must go

About the broadcaster:

Obama says Syrian president must go

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.