WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama has frozen all property belonging to the Syrian government under U.S. jurisdiction, saying that it was time for the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, to step aside, according to a White House statement.
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside,” said Obama, in Thursday’s statement.
Obama’s order imposes the most severe economic sanctions to date, by banning all new investment in Syria by any resident of the U.S., or U.S. held corporations or their foreign branches, and bans importation of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin.
Senior members of the Syrian government, the al-Assad family and specific businesses and industries in Syria have been subject to sanctions by four previous executive orders authorized by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.