The U.S. government will impose sanctions on Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, as well as six top Syrian government officials, over human rights abuses perpetrated over the past two months of unrest in that country, according to reports.

US President Barack Obama is expected to formally announce the sanction during his speech on the Middle East tomorrow.

A US official told Agence France Presse that sanctions an effort to increase pressure on the government of Syria to end its violence against its people and begin transitioning to a democratic system.”

The measure is believed to be the first time that Assad has been personally targeted by a foreign government over his security forces ill-treatment of anti-regime protesters.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian revolt, at least 700 people have been killed by government troops and many hundreds more have been detained by the authorities.

Last month, US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Assad’s brother Maher, his cousin and also an intelligence official.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington will take additional steps against Syria.

The Syrian government has embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally, and they have refused to honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people,” Clinton said.

President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intentions.”
The European Union has already place 13 Syrian officials on its own sanctions list. They will decide next week if they will add Assad to that group.