In a bid to rachet up pressure on the Syrian government, the Obama administration says it is considering sanctions against senior officials, but it is unclear whether the measures would include President Assad himself.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “We are pursuing a variety of options or looking at, rather, a range of options, including targeted sanctions. What we have seen is that sanctions can put pressure on governments and regimes to change their behaviour and I think that would be obviously the goal of this.
“And, we continue to encourage President Assad and his government to honour the promises that President Assad has made to lift the emergency law, for example, to institute reforms and obviously to cease the violence against his own people.”
Washington is walking a diplomatic tightrope with Syria – conscious that a hardline stance risks pushing Israel’s neighbour further into the arms of Iran.