(Washington) – Amnesty International USA welcomed today's announcement by the Obama Administration regarding its decision to freeze the assets of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other officials and urged the president to impose a comprehensive arms embargo to pressure Syria to end its crackdown on protesters.
"This is a welcome first step by President Obama to try to end the abuses in Syria," said T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director in Washington. "But the U.S. government needs to step up the pressure to curb the military-sponsored attacks on peaceful civilians that has taken so many lives in Syria."
Amnesty International has compiled a list of at least 622 people killed by Syrian security forces around the country since pro-reform protests began in mid-March.
In addition to an arms embargo, Amnesty International has urged the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"The Syrian government has responded to peaceful calls for reform with the most brutal tactics clearly intended to shatter the will of the people," said Kumar.
"President al-Assad and those around him must be held individually criminally responsible before the ICC or national courts of states exercising universal jurisdiction."
In addition to freezing property in the U.S. or interests in property belonging to al-Assad, the Treasury Department said it will freeze the property of other officials including Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohamad Ibrahim al-Shaar and Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmoud.