EU hits Syria with fresh sanctions

Kawrgosk camp for Syrian refugees in Irbil, northern Iraq. (IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation/Creative Commons)

The European Union imposed additional sanctions against Syria on Friday (6 March), targeting backers of President Bashar al-Assad, as the bloody conflict gets worse with no prospect of a peace deal.

“Seven persons and six entities providing support to the Syrian regime as well as benefitting from it have been targeted,” a statement said. Their names will be made public in a legal notice on Saturday, making it effective immediately.

This brings the number of persons and entities targeted by EU sanctions over the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria to 218 persons and 69 entities.

Those on the list have their assets in the EU frozen and are barred from entry to the 28-country bloc.

The move follows a December decision to extend the sanctions regime to hit Assad and his supporters.

More than 220,000 people are believed to have died in Syria since the March 2011 uprising against Assad turned into a bloody sectarian conflict, which has displaced millions and destroyed much of the country.

Recalling previous decisions, the Council added that the EU would “continue imposing and enforcing sanctions that target the regime and its supporters as long as repression continues” and that the bloc continued to support efforts for a political settlement that would see Assad relinquish power.

Some EU states have pressed for more dialogue with Assad, who has survived four years of armed revolt and now faces an enemy, in the form of Islamic State, which Western powers also want to defeat. But the bloc’s main military powers, France and Britain, oppose restoring relations with Damascus. 

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