Obama Extends National Emergency on Syria over Lebanon Meddling


U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the national emergency with respect to the actions of the Syrian government, saying that its support for Hizbullah and Hamas and meddling in Lebanon makes it a threat to national security.

Syria’s ongoing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, support for anti-Israel groups and interference in Lebanon make it a "continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," said a White House statement.

The emergency, which was declared in 2004, was to have expired on May 11.

Friday's announcement, in addition to financial penalties against three top Syrian officials, Syria's intelligence agency and Iran's Revolutionary Guard, came as Syrian security forces opened fire on demonstrators trying to break an army blockade on Daraa, while thousands across the country defied a protest ban and denounced Assad.(AP-Naharnet)