A senior official says European Union foreign ministers will consider next week whether to tighten sanctions against the authoritarian regime in Syria.

Human rights groups say more than 850 people have been killed in the clashes and clampdowns since an uprising against President Bashar Assad began two months ago. Earlier this month, the EU imposed assets freezes and visa bans on 13 people associated with regime, but not on Assad himself.

At least 17 people were reported killed Friday as security forces fired into crowds of demonstrators.

New sanctions will be considered "since repression is continuing and even increasing in Syria," the senior EU official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for revealing confidential information.