The head of Arab League observers in Syria rejected criticisms Monday that his team had failed to stop killing in the country, where thousands of people have died in clashes between government protesters and opposition forces demanding the end of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Sudanese Gen. Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi said Monday at a news conference in Cairo that the mission was designed not to bring an immediate end to violence but to investigate and observe the situation.
Rising concerns about the government's violent crackdown prompted the European Commission to widen sanctions Monday against Syrian officials and organizations. The group imposed asset freezes and travel bans to 22 more Syrian officials it said were responsible for human rights violations and eight entities that give financial support to al-Assad's regime.
"Today's decision will put further pressure on those who are responsible for the unacceptable violence and repression in Syria," European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said. "The message from the European Union is clear: The crackdown must stop immediately. We will continue to do all we can to help the Syrian people achieve their legitimate political rights."FULL STORY