EU works on New Sanctions against Syria

The European Union is working on a new set of sanctions against Syria, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

“We are all absolutely appalled by the horrendous levels of violence that have been witnessed in Syria,” Ashton told EU lawmakers during their plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday. “The violence has abated, but it’s not enough. We’re working on a new set of sanctions and restrictive measures.”

The EU will continue pressing the Syrian regime with sanctions “for as long as repressions continue,” she said.

Ashton did not elaborate which additional sanctions were being discussed.

Syria is already under 12 rounds of European sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes on President Bashar al-Assad, his British-born wife, his mother and senior officials, a ban on sales of arms and telecommunications monitoring equipment, and restrictions on banking and financial services, as well as a European ban on imports of Syrian oil.

The current sanctions affect more than 150 Syrian officials, companies and organizations close to the Assad regime.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of the anti-Assad uprising in February last year, the United Nations has estimated. A group of six international monitors has been sent to Syria to monitor the fragile ceasefire between government and opposition forces as the sides traded accusations of violating the truce, which is part of a peace plan for Syria put forward by UN and Arab Legue envoy Kofi Annan.

A resolution authorizing a 30-strong monitoring mission to Syria, which can later be expanded to include around 250 monitors, was unanimously passed by the UN Security Council on Saturday, according to RIA Novosti.

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