U.S. President Barack Obama called for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Thursday. It is the first time the U.S. has called for Assad to step down amidst continuing violence against demonstrators in the Middle Eastern country. Meanwhile, Obama has issued an executive order allowing for additional sanctions to be implemented against Syria which will be outlined by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is scheduled to speak Thursday. An administration official told the New York Times that “this very tough action will lend additional force to the president’s words.” So far, Assad has dismissed international criticism and calls for him to relent in his crackdown on demonstrators. He maintains Syria’s military is fighting domestic terrorists.