U.S. Slaps New Sanctions On Syria Over Crackdown

The United States slapped sanctions on Syria's intelligence agency and two relatives of President Bashar al-Assad on Friday in Washington's first concrete steps in response to a bloody crackdown on protests.

Assad, Syria's long-serving ruler, was not among those targeted under an order signed by President Barack Obama but could be named soon if violence by government forces against democracy protesters continued, a senior U.S. official said.

"The sanctions that were announced today are intended to show the Syrian government that its behavior and actions are going to be held to account," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters after a meeting with Japan's visiting foreign minister.

Sanctions for alleged human rights abuses were imposed against Maher al-Assad, Bashar's brother, and Atif Najib, one of his cousins, together with Syria's General Intelligence Directorate and its chief.

Aljazeera