EU-SYRIA: New European sanctions imposed on seven Syrian ministers

BRUSSELS – The European Union, after its European Council meeting, announced new sanctions this Friday against seven ministers in the Syrian government. The Syrian ministers are accused of “being involved in the repression against civilians in Syria.” The sanctions include EU travel bans and asset freezes.

The sanctioned persons include incumbent Syrian Ministers Kinan Yaghi (Finance), Zuhair Khazim (Transport), Talal al-Barazi (Internal Trade and Consumer Protection), Loubana Mouchaweh (Culture), Darem Taba’a (Education), Ahmed Sayyed (Justice), and Tammam Ra’ad (Hydraulic/Water resources).

According to the European Council press release, the sanctions currently in place against the Syrian regime were introduced in 2011 as a response to the violent repression of the Syrian civilian population; “The sanctions also target companies and prominent business people benefitting from their ties with the regime and the war economy. Restrictive measures also include a ban on the import of oil, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the Syrian central bank’s assets that are held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that could be used for internal repression and on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.”

The press release further states that the European Council will keep close watch of the developments in the Syrian conflict and that the EU remains “committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.”

The United States has imposed similar sanctions against political, military, and economic entities and figures of the Syrian Baath regime. Under the so-called Caeser’s Act the U.S. has also directly sanctioned President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar Assad and members of his family.