US welcomes EU decision on Syria sanctions

May 7, 2011 - 12:44 AM
Mideast Syria

In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone and acquired by the AP, Syrian anti-government protesters shout slogans as they gather in the coastal town of Banias, Syria, Friday, May 6, 2011. Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters Friday, killing at least 16 people as thousands joined demonstrations across the country calling for an end to President Bashar Assad's regime, witnesses and activists said. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is welcoming the European Union's decision to sanction Syrian officials for cracking down on anti-government protesters.

An EU official said the organization next week will freeze the assets of 13 Syrian government officials and ban them from traveling anywhere in the European Union. Syrian President Bashar Assad will not be affected.

Last week, President Barack Obama imposed financial penalties against three top Syrian officials, Syria's intelligence agency and Iran's Revolutionary Guard over the violent crackdown on demonstrators in Syria.

On Friday, the White House warned that the U.S. and its allies will take additional steps to register its disapproval with Syria's behavior.

Witnesses say Syrian security forces fired on protesters Friday as thousands joined nationwide demonstrations demanding an end to Assad's regime.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said: "The Syrian people, like people everywhere, have the inherent right to exercise their universal freedoms, including peaceful assembly, expression, and speech. The Syrian government must respond to the Syrian people's call for change. It must realize that violence and intimidation will not answer their call."