Justly Europe renews sanctions against the Assad regime for another year. The sanctions slap Assad and other top political officials, military officers and business people over the regime’s continued crackdown on civilians in the civil war-torn country.
The European Council, headquarters of the 27 EU countries, said in a statement Thursday that the sanctions would be extended until June 1, 2021, more than a decade after the conflict began, “as the repression of the civilian population continues.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said:
The Syrian people have had to draw on extraordinary reserves of resilience.
He added that the bloc “remains committed to use every tool at its disposal to push for a political solution to the conflict that would benefit all Syrians and put an end to the ongoing repression.”
A REMINDER OF THE ASSAD TERROR
The Syrian conflict is now in its 10th year. The United Nations says that Assad has forced over half the population to flee their homes; as a result, more than 11 million people need humanitarian assistance, of which there are nearly 5 million of children. Assad also has created conditions to starve eight million Syrians with no reliable access to food.
Eight out of 10 Syrians live below the poverty line, making less than $100 a month, and the country is mired in an economic crisis. Syria’s currency has spiraled downward, sending prices of basic commodities soaring.
The EU first imposed its sanctions in May 2011. They include travel bans, asset freezes and measures targeting operations like oil imports, certain investments, and the trade in equipment that the Assad regime could use for any crackdown on civilians.
The sanctions list now includes 273 people, including members of Assad’s family, close associates and top military brass. The list also includes 70 “entities” like organizations and companies. The EU says it designed the sanctions to avoid hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid. The sanctions do not target food or medical equipment.
AP contributed to this article.