Obama: Assad 'Slaughtering' His People, Must Go US to announce new sanctions against Syria later today By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Aug 18, 2011 9:54 AM CDT 25 comments Comments President Barack Obama called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down today, promising new sanctions against Syria. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Newser) – After weeks of brutal violence that has left more than 2,000 Syrians dead, President Obama today called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign for the first time and announced new sanctions against the country, reports the AP. "We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led," said Obama in a statement. "For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside." Despite Syria's announcement yesterday that it was ending military operations against its internal dissidents, the White House moved strongly against the Assad regime. "His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people," said the statement. Hillary Clinton is expected to detail the US government's tougher stance on Syria later today.