Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is continuing his assault on protesters, following President Obama's sanctions (yesterday) and his major address on the Middle East (today). The AP reports:

Syrian forces kept up a relentless campaign against the country's two-month uprising Thursday, using tanks to shell a besieged border town as President Obama called on Syria's president to lead his country to democracy or "get out of the way."

President Bashar Assad has taken pains to portray confidence and a steely determination in recent days amid signs that his brutal crackdown is terrifying the population into submission.

The regime's crackdown on dissent, which has killed more than 850 people, continued ahead of another round of protests planned for after Friday prayers. Syria's state-run news agency also condemned new U.S. sanctions, saying they "did not and will not affect Syria's independent choices and steadfastness."

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