WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Thursday said it was time for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign, and said the United States was implementing tough new sanctions to help end violence in Syria.
"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way," Obama said in a statement. "His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people.”
"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."
US imposes sanctions on Syria
The United States has barred trade with five Syrian energy companies as part of broad sanctions to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, the Treasury Department said Thursday.
President Barack Obama has ordered sanctions against General Petroleum Corporation, Syrian Company for Oil Transport, Syrian Gas Company, Syrian Petroleum Company, and Sytrol, the department said in a statement.
EU calls for Assad to step down
The European Union called Thursday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying that his regime had lost all legitimacy and credibility.
"The EU notes the complete loss of Bashar al-Assad's legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and the necessity for him to step aside," foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement, shortly after US President Barack Obama also demanded that Assad quit.