Barack Obama, the US president, along with the rest of the international community is calling for Syria's leader to step down. And the United Nations claims Syria could be guilty of crimes against humanity.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said: "The time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves."
It is a significant ramp-up of international pressure and the first explicit US call for Bashar al-Assad to resign since the uprising in Syria began in March.
The US will not rule out military action, but officials say it is "not a desired course" for the US and its allies, or for the Syrian people.
But how effective will the latest economic sanctions be? Is the situation on the ground really going to change? And is this the beginning of a coordinated action by the UN?
Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with Rosemary Hollis, a professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City University; Theodore Kattouf, the president of AMIDEAST, which is a US NGO working in international education, training and development in Middle East and North Africa; and Ashraf al-Moqdad, a Syrian opposition member.