A Damascene industrialist who exports dairy products to Middle East markets said businessmen felt the security crackdown, in which 2,200 people have been killed, was hurting their interests.
"They are seeing the boat sinking and are starting to prepare to jump ship," he said.
The EU oil sanctions are expected to be the biggest economic hit yet to the regime, which is a key exporter of oil to Europe. The sanctions will force Syria to ship its oil further away for less money, but since the country had significant financial reserves at the outset of the uprising the sanctions alone are unlikely to bring down the regime, reports Reuters.
Assad's security forces have continued to crack down on civilians, even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that ends today with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr.
Today six were killed in the southern province of Deraa and one was killed in the central city of Homs after security forces fired on worshipers leaving mosques, The New York Times reports. According to the Local Coordination Committees, a clearinghouse for Syrian opposition protests and activities, soldiers and plainclothes police were staked out near mosques to prevent people from praying. Mosques have been used as a rallying point in the uprising, making the Assad regime wary of allowing large numbers of Syrians to gather for prayer.