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Damascus lashes out at Europe

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Damascus lashes out at Europe
Syrian anti-government protesters hold a protest calling for the end of calling for an end to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Nawa, Darra city, Syria, on May 6, 2011. UPI | License Photo

DAMASCUS, Syria, May 24 (UPI) -- Conclusions reached by the European Union against Syria represent "flagrant interference" in the country's internal affairs, an official source said.

The European Union Monday followed the U.S. example and for the first time imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad in a bid to stop violence against protesters.

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The EU two weeks ago passed sanctions against 13 senior officials in Syria following weeks of violence. The original list didn't include Assad, however, who was once viewed as a potential reformer in the Middle East.

An official source was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency as saying the government in Damascus deplores conclusions reached by European officials.

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''The EU conclusions, like those of the U.S., clearly aim at flagrant interference in Syria's internal affairs and an attempt to destabilize it and control its people's decisions and capabilities at present and in the future," the source was quoted as saying.

The official went on to accuse "old colonial countries" Britain and France of forcing the European hand in its sanctions.

''As Syria stresses resolve to complete the reform programs, it affirms full commitment to its independent national decision, its full sovereignty and care about the security of its own citizens and the future of its people," the source continued. "It considers that any measures against it will not make it deviate from its national and pan-Arab path, whatever sacrifices it might take."

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RELATED Syria death toll continues to rise

Assad last month announced a series of reforms meant to allay protester concerns. Washington, however, said the level of violent repression in Syria showed Damascus wasn't serious about change.

Almost 1,000 people were killed during the unrest in Syria.

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