Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EU toughens sanctions, arms embargo against Syria

LONDON — The European Union strengthened its arms embargo against Syria on Monday and toughened sanctions against supporters of the country's president, Bashar Assad, in response to worsening violence there.

At a meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers decided that their 27 nations will be required to search airplanes and ships suspected of carrying weapons or other banned equipment into Syria.

They also decided to freeze the assets of and ban visas for 26 more people, and to prevent European companies from doing business with three more entities in Syria. The 26 people were not immediately identified.

"I am deeply concerned at the escalating violence and its tragic consequences for the Syrian population," Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said.

The new obligation to search vessels suspected of carrying arms applies to all weapons destined for the country, including any intended for opposition forces, said one European official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

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