According to human rights groups, Syria’s military has killed over 2,000 civilians since a crackdown on protesters began in mid-March. After repeatedly condemning the violence, the United States is finally calling for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to step down. In a written statement released this morning, President Obama praised the Syrian people for their courage and demanded that Assad remove himself from power.
Obama also announce a new slew of “unprecedented sanctions” against Syria and the Assad regime:
It may come as a surprise that an official call for Assad to step down didn’t happen a long time ago, but then again, it’s mostly an empty symbolic gesture anyway, according to the AP:
Hasn’t Assad, by continuing his brutal campaign of violence over everyone’s objections for months now, already sent an even more powerful signal that the international community can shove it?
President Obama: “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way.” [White House Blog]
This post has been updated with new information.