US, Italy warn Syria on protest crackdown

The United States and Italy are warning Syria that it will face penalties and increasing isolation if it does not halt its violent crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini say Syrian authorities must be pressured to end the violence that has left more than 550 people dead since the uprising began, as security forces cracked down on protests. Scores of soldiers also have been reported killed.

Clinton says the U.S. is looking at boosting sanctions it has already imposed on Syrian leaders. Frattini says Italy would support similar measures by the European Union.

Speaking at a press conference with Frattini on Thursday, Clinton said Syria had to know that there would be "consequences for this brutal crackdown."