EU Extends Sanctions Against Assad Regime

May 29, 2015  

The European Union (EU) on Thursday added a high-ranking Syrian military official to its sanctions list as it extended measures against supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad for another year, Reuters reported.

The EU began imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Assad and his supporters in 2011 to protest a government crackdown on Assad’s opponents. With Syria’s civil war now in its fifth year, the sanctions list has grown to more than 200 people and 70 organizations.

EU governments decided to extend the sanctions another year and add one person to the list, which Reuters said is a high-ranking military official the EU accused of being “responsible for repression and violence against the civilian population in Damascus and Damascus countryside.”

The name of the official, who will be subject to an asset freeze and ban on traveling to the EU, will not be made public until details of the sanctions are published in the EU’s Official Journal on Friday.

Other EU sanctions on Syria include restrictions on exporting equipment that might be used for internal repression and a ban on importing oil from Syria.

The conflict in Syria has left more than 220,000 dead since it began four years ago with an uprising against Assad.

Past peace negotiations have failed to resolve the crisis, though the UN’s envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, recently held wide-ranging consultations in Geneva with regional and domestic players, including Iran, in a bid to revive stalled talks to end the conflict.

In recent weeks, rebel forces including Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front, have seized Idlib’s provincial capital, the strategic town of Jisr al-Shughur, and a military base in the area.

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