Tuesday, May 10, 2011

EU imposes sanctions on Syria

Syrian military police carry a coffin as part of the process of sending the bodies of dead soldiers and members of the security forces to their hometowns for burial. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

The European Union has imposed an arms embargo on Syria and has placed sanctions on several Syrian officials, both of which come into effect on Tuesday.

The restrictions prohibit the shipment of “arms and equipment” to the Middle Eastern nation, AFP reported.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the 27-nation bloc could consider extending the restrictive measures to "the highest level of [the Syrian] leadership."

The EU also froze the assets of 13 Syrian officials and prohibited them from traveling anywhere in the European Union.

Building on punitive measures imposed in 2004, the United States also recently imposed sanctions on the brother and a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and on the Syrian Intelligence Ministry and the intelligence minister.

The country has witnessed huge demonstrations over the past few weeks. Some reports say hundreds of protesters and a number of members of the security forces have been killed.

The opposition says the security forces themselves are behind the violence, but the Syrian government says armed gangs and foreign elements are responsible for the violence.

Damascus says it has arrested several members of an armed terrorist group, who have confessed to receiving weapons and money to kill people and security forces and to cause chaos.

On Friday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency said ten Syrian soldiers and policemen had been killed by terrorist groups in the central city of Homs.

The Syrian Army is currently pursuing militant groups in the suburbs of the southern city of Dara'a and the city of Baniyas in the west.

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