U.S. sanctions Syrian officials over protest suppression

The White House on Friday imposed sanctions on Syria’s intelligence agency and two relatives of President Bashar al-Assad in response to a violent crackdown of protests in the North African country.

The order, signed by President Barack Obama, is the first concrete measure taken by the United States against the Syrian authorities.

The sanctions did not include Bashar al-Assad, but a White House spokesman said he could be included if violence towards pro-democracy demonstrators in the country continued.

The five people listed in the sanctions included Bashar’s brother, Mahir, and one of his cousins, Atif Najib, both of whom are accused of human rights violations.

Russia, along with 14 other countries, opposed on Wednesday a draft UN Security Council statement condemning the actions of the Syrian government, saying the events do not threaten global security.

Some 200 Syrian officials, largely based in the southern Syrian city of Deraa, resigned on Friday in protest against the bloody crackdown, which has 450 protesters in the past six weeks.

WASHINGTON, April 29 (RIA Novosti)

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