Damascus continues to block progress on resolving Syrian crisis; Ex-Syrian intelligence officer found guilty in German court in first ever conviction of member of Syrian regime for crimes against humanity

BRUSSELS / KOBLENZ, Germany — The European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement lamenting the lack of progress in resolving the Syrian crisis and placed the blame solely on Damascus for its obstruction.

The committee’s statement stressed that the Syrian regime has blocked any progress in the political negotiations aimed at resolving the crisis in the country and the European Union and international community could do little else.

The Committee made it clear that the European Union will not participate in any reconstruction process in Syria unless Damascus enters into real political negotiations that leads to substantive change in the country.

In related news, a former Syrian intelligence service agent was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for complicity in crimes against humanity in the first court case over state-sponsored torture by the Syrian regime.

Eyad al-Gharib (44) was convicted of being an accomplice to crimes against humanity while helping to arrest protesters and deliver them to a detention center in Damascus in 2011.

“The accused is sentenced to four years and six months for aiding and abetting a crime against humanity in the form of torture and deprivation of liberty,” judge Anne Kerber said.

He is the first of two defendants on trial since April 23 to be sentenced by the court in Koblenz, after judges decided to split the proceedings in two.