President Barack Obama is extending the legal framework for continued sanctions against Syria. He is notifying Congress Wednesday that Syria poses an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security and diplomatic goals.
The renewal comes two days before a special "national emergency" would have expired. The emergency declaration allows the president to impose a variety of punishments and controls.
Former President George W. Bush first imposed it in 2004, in response to Syrian repression in Lebanon and its support for foreign fighters battling U.S. and other forces in Iraq. The emergency has been renewed annually.
Now, Obama says the rationale is that Syrian President Bashar Assad is killing civilians and continuing to support terrorism.