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NY senators push sanctions against Syria

The Associated Press

The United States would hit Syria with trade sanctions as long as it continues a violent crackdown on protesters under sanctions proposed by New York's two U.S. senators.

The bill from Democrats Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand would require President Barack Obama to identify violators of human rights and call for reform and protection of pro-democracy demonstrators.

It would block financial aid and property transactions in the United States by Syrian leaders involved in the crackdown on protests.

The sanctions measure, which would be proposed this week, also would prohibit the sale of high technology and telecommunications to Syria by any companies if the technology could be used for what the senators call censorship or human rights abuse. Visas to the United States also would be denied.

The 10-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad has turned increasingly militarized and chaotic as more frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces.

"Assad has brutally violated the human rights of his own people while killing thousands of Syrian citizens and fostering terrorism across his borders," Gillibrand said in a statement.

Schumer said Syria shows no desire to stop the bloodshed. "If Syria won't willingly change its brutal approach and continues to violate the human rights of those seeking to exercise their voices, then we will do everything we can to send the strongest message possible to that nation's leadership that this behavior is beyond the pale and not without consequence," he said.

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