AP sources: US to hit Syria's Assad with sanctions

May 18, 2011 - 12:44 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Obama administration will slap sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six others for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for actions of his security forces.

The officials said the Treasury Department would announce the sanctions on Wednesday, a day before President Barack Obama delivers a major speech on the uprisings throughout the Arab world with prominent mentions of Syria. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement of the sanctions.

The move comes as Assad said his security forces had made mistakes during the two-month uprising and blamed poorly trained police at least in part for the crackdown that has killed more than 850 people.