The Washington Times
Aug 21, 2011
President Obama and other world leaders ramped up pressure Thursday on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, but the authoritarian regime responded by accusing the West of inciting more violence.
“It is strange that instead of offering [Damascus] a helping hand to implement its program of reforms, the West and Obama are seeking to stoke more violence in Syria,” Reem Haddad, the Syrian Information Ministry’s director of external relations, told Agence France-Presse.
After five months of crackdowns that human rights activists say have killed more than 2,200 in Syria, Mr. Obama finally called for Mr. Assad’s resignation Thursday and imposed new sanctions against the regime, including a freeze of all the country’s assets in the United States.
“For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people.”