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EU Sanctions 16 Syrian Officials | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man carries the body of a dead child after a gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. (Reuters)

Brussels – European Union (EU) imposed on Monday sanctions against 16 high-ranking Syrian military officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against civilians. This brings up the total number of persons to 255 sanctioned with travel bans and assets freeze.

These persons include eight military officials and eigth scientists involved in chemical weapons proliferation and delivery.

In addition, 67 entities were targeted by an assets freeze.

Sanctions against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian Central Bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression. The sanctions also include equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.

These measures were last extended on May 29, 2017 and are in place until June 1, 2018.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called Monday’s actions by EU ministers a “very good” agreement and said he is pleased the ministers could come together to focus on the issue.

“The UK condemns the use of chemical weapons wherever and by whomever they are used and we will continue to work closely with our international partners to hold perpetrators to account,” he added.

He explained that the 16 individuals sanctioned are responsible for “abhorrent” chemical weapons attacks on men, women and children.

“The UK helped push for these sanctions, which send a clear signal to the Syrian regime that their barbaric actions have consequences,” added the Foreign Secretary.

In April, around 100 people were killed and many others injured in Khan Sheikhoun following a sarin nerve gas attack.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Brussels that EU and US sanctions against Syria were extraordinary given their impact on vital humanitarian services provided by the country’s once thriving pharmaceutical industry.