The European Union has imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials, raising pressure on his government to end weeks of violence against pro-democracy demonstrators. The move was agreed by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels.
The bloc’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, said: “It is extremely important that, first of all, Syria refrain from the violence. The government needs to understand that the people are asking by peaceful protest for the kind of reforms that the government has said that they are interested in, and they now need to engage properly and try and do that.”
Syrian security forces are said to have killed six people in the city of Homs on Saturday during a funeral for others killed in the crackdown on protesters demonstrating against Assad’s rule. Human rights groups estimate that more than 700 civilians have been killed by security forces in recent weeks.