U.S. Toughens Sanctions Against Syria

President Obama authorized freezing financial assets of three top Syrian officials Friday, including relatives of President Bashar Assad. The sanctions also target Syria’s intelligence agency and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard over the Assad regime’s continued bloody crackdown on demonstrators. Some 500 people have been killed in the country in six weeks of protests, MSNBC reported. Singled out for sanctions were Maher Assad, the president’s brother and commander of an Army division accused of atrocities in the southern city of Daraa, where as many as 62 were killed on Friday. "We call on President Assad to change course now, and heed the calls of his own people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

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