The US government has frozen all Syrian state assets, banned US citizens from operating or investing in Syria and stopped US imports of Syrian oil imports. President Obama has said that President Bashar al-Assad should step aside; Baroness Ashton the EU foreign affairs spokesperson has made similar calls.
In response to a telephone call from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President al-Assad has said that all military and police operations have ceased. Today, these statements will be put to the test as the regular Friday prayer meetings are likely to turn into mass protests once more.
Meanwhile the Syrian economy has all but collapsed with tourism nonexistent and foreign investment having dried up. Syrians have also been taking their money out of Syrian banks and placing it elsewhere, mainly in the Lebanon. Despite this the Syrian pound has remained strong which, analysts are suggesting, may be because another power, possibly Iran is supporting Syria; or it may be drawing on its foreign currency reserves.
Overall the Syrian economy was expected to grow by about 3% this year, instead it is on course to shrink by 5%. The new sanctions by the US will take time to have an effect but they will cause further problems for the Syrian government.