After weeks of calls to do so, the U.S. government will impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The move is in response to his government’s increasingly bloody crackdown on protesters who have taken to the streets to demand democratic reforms. While the specifics have not been released, they will cite human rights abuses. The U.S.—along with the European Union—had previously lowered sanctions on members of the government, including two of Assad’s relatives, but had avoided targeting the president specifically. Activists say 700 civilians have been killed in weeks of clashes.