WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday extending a U.S. state of national emergency against Syria.
The emergency was first declared by President George W. Bush in 2004 and has been extended and modified many times since. The declaration allows economic sanctions against the government of President Bashar Assad.
"While the Syrian regime has reduced the number of foreign fighters bound for Iraq, the regime's own brutality and repression of its citizens who have been calling for freedom and a representative government endangers not only the Syrian people themselves, but could yield greater instability throughout the region," the president said in a message to Congress.
"The Syrian regime's actions and policies, including obstructing the Lebanese government's ability to function effectively, pursuing chemical and biological weapons, and supporting terrorist organizations, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."