US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped up calls for a wider global trade embargo on Syria as anti-government protests continue, despite widespread oppression and violence in the troubled Middle Eastern state.
"We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history," Clinton said.
In a later interview with CBS, Clinton singled out China, India and Russia to join the Obama administration in pressuring the Assad regime to halt his brutal crackdown (See video of the interview here).
Clinton told CBS, “We want to see China take steps with us. We want to see India, because India and China have large energy investments inside of Syria. We want to see Russia cease selling arms to the Assad regime.”
She also called on European governments to impose broader sanctions on Syria’s oil and gas industry, in line with the US, which has already severely limited economic and trade ties with the country.
The call was echoed by Human Rights Watch who urged the EU to freeze the assets of the Syrian National Oil and Gas companies, as well as the Central Bank of Syria. The EU already has passed four waves of sanctions since the violence began including asset freezes, travel bans or arms embargoes on individuals associated with Assad's government.
The Assad regime claims that the unrest in the country is due to “terrorist groups”, as anti-government protests erupted over 5 months ago. An estimated 2,000 civilians have been killed in the violence.