US, EU ready new sanctions on Syria

By MATTHEW LEE | May 17, 2011 | 10:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and European Union are preparing to hit the Syrian leadership with new sanctions as the government continues a brutal crackdown on pro-reformers.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Tuesday that Washington and Brussels were reviewing fresh penalties and would act in the coming days.

The U.S. and E.U. have already imposed sanctions on selected members of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Those sanctions have not yet targeted Assad himself, though.

Clinton and Ashton said they were increasingly alarmed by developments in Syria where more than 850 people have been killed in more than a month of violence.