US Considers Call for Assad to Step Down
The United States, once a firm supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is reportedly now considering a call for the Damascus strongman to end his reign. The U.S. Security Council is expected to make a statement Wednesday on the Syrian government's violence against its citizens over the past week.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been killed by Syrian government forces, with hundreds of others wounded in Hama and other cities, over the past week as Assad tries to stop the groundswell of protests calling for his ouster.
One week ago, President Barack Obama condemned the Assad government for its violence against peaceful protesters, and called for an immediate end to violence by all parties.
U.S. officials are set to meet with the United Nations Security Council in the coming days to discuss the matter, according to a report by CNN.
However, it is unlikely that the Security Council would take steps to impose specific sanctions against Israel's northern neighbor. Both Russia and China, permanent members of the council, have in the past expressed reluctance to get involved in the internal affairs of member nations.
There have also been calls by the international community to impose sanctions on Syria in connection with its secret nuclear program and its unwillingness to allow the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its facilities.
Instead, the U.S. Treasury Department would probably impose further sanctions of its own on officials in the Assad regime. The U.S., as well as a number of other nations, have already targeted Syria's leadership with sanctions against Assad, his family members and other top government officials.