August 18, 2011
In a statement, President Obama accused President Assad of “ferocious brutality” and announced new sanctions on the regime, including a ban on all business dealings by US citizens and a freeze on Syrian government assets.
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people,” the statement said.
“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”