Syria’s Chemical Assad has revoked special visas for European Union diplomats and officials traveling regularly between Beirut and Damascus. Thus complicating efforts to distribute aid to civil war victims, three senior EU diplomats said. Assad starves Syrians … to legitimize his terror.
Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, the EU has used the Lebanese capital for its diplomatic base. The EU closed their embassies in Damascus in protest over Assad’s brutal assault on his own people.
But the special permission to use multiple-entry Syrian visas for access to Damascus was rescinded at the start of January. The regime provided no explanation. This meant the EU diplomats would have to apply for time-consuming, single-entry visas every time they wish to travel.
ASSAD THE BLACKMAILER
The EU diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity said they believed it was an attempt to try to force European governments and the bloc to re-open embassies in Damascus. Assad starves Syrians to legitimize his terror.
One EU diplomat said:
It’s a serious problem for the EU’s humanitarian assistance. This is a measure that hits diplomats and staff of European government embassies and the European Union institutions.
Reuters was unable immediately to reach Syrian Foreign Ministry officials for comment.
After more than seven years of a devastating war drawing in foreign powers, the European Commission, the EU executive, has channeled almost 800 million euros ($909.44 million) on food, medicine and shelter for Syrians inside the country.
There was no immediate available estimate for the impact of the multi-visa ban; but a Commission spokesman said that the bloc was “doing everything in our power to take appropriate measures to minimize any impact on the delivery of EU humanitarian assistance inside Syria.”
EU STANDS FIRM ON ASSAD SANCTIONS
The European Union imposed a series of economic sanctions on Assad’s government on Monday. It said it will not shift its policy until a political transition away from Assad is negotiated as part of a U.N.-led peace process.
A second diplomat said:
So far, the EU is united on its policy that we won’t deal with Assad.
In December, Sudanese indicted-for-war-crimes Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab dictator to visit Damascus since the start of Syria’s civil war.
The U.S. withdrawal from Syria also appears to have emboldened Assad, the diplomats said. A Trump gift to Putin.
Trump confounded his own national security team with a surprise decision on Dec. 19 to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, declaring the Islamic State militant group had been defeated there, a view not shared by many experts.