Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Source: Press TV
The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six senior officials over alleged rights violations during protests in the Middle Eastern country.
Washington claims the sanctions are in line with Syria's human rights abuses over its alleged crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The White House announced that the new measure aims to increase pressure on Damascus to end its use of violence and begin transition to a democratic system, AFP reported Wednesday.
This comes as the United States has already been accused of secretly financing opposition groups in Syria.
Scores of people, including several security forces and soldiers, have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the protests in mid-March.
While the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings, Syrian authorities blame armed groups and foreign elements for the violence, saying security forces have been given clear instructions not to hurt civilians.
Damascus says it has arrested several members of armed terrorist groups, who have confessed to receiving weapons and money from foreign organizations to kill civilians and security forces in a bid to cause chaos in Syria.
The Syrian president has vowed to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.
Washington's sanctions on Syria come despite its muted response to the deadly Saudi-backed crackdown against anti-government protesters in Bahrain.