Obama considering 'targeted sanctions' against Syria

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Monday that President Obama "is pursuing a range of possible policy options, including targeted sanctions, to respond to the crackdown and make clear that this behavior is unacceptable."

According to reports from Syria, government forces killed more than 100 people over the weekend and arrested many more. 

Obama has repeatedly condemned the violence in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, and Vietor repeated that call in an email on Monday.


“The brutal violence used by the government of Syria against its people is completely deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Vietor said.

The president has been roundly criticized for lacking an overall strategy in the region as protests have spread, governments have been toppled and violence has escalated.

But Obama and his staff have repeatedly warned of the dangers of the perception that the United States is intervening in Arab countries. 

"The Syrian people’s call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard," Vietor said.

Syria is already subject to heavy sanctions because of its placement on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.