May 21, 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that Syria was of “acute concern” for the United States and Israel, and outlined tough US measures against Damascus to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In joint remarks after a meeting with Netanyahu, Obama said the two had “discussed the situation in Syria, which is obviously of acute concern to Israel, given its shared border.”

Obama said he gave the Israeli prime minister more details about “significant steps” the administration is taking to try to pressure Syria and regime of President Bashar al-Assad to reform, “including the sanctions that we placed directly on President Assad.”

For more than two months, pro-democracy protests have challenged Assad’s regime, which has retaliated with deadly force, sweeping arrests and torture, rights activists say.

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