EU slaps sanctions on Syrian Finance Minister
Brussels: The European Union expanded its sanctions list against Syria on Friday to include Syria's finance and economy ministers, state-owned oil companies and two media organisations.
Finance Minister Mohammad al-Jleilati and Economy Minister Mohammad Nidal al-Shaar were among 12 regime officials added to a blacklist of Syrians hit by asset freezes and bans on travelling to the 27-nation EU.
General Fahid al-Jassim, the head of the military, led a list of nine military officials punished on charges of involvement in violence against protesters in the flashpoint region of Homs.
The new list, published in the EU's Official Journal, includes 11 more companies accused of providing financial support to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The 10th round of sanctions were approved by EU foreign ministers yesterday to pile pressure on Assad's regime to step aside and make way for a democratic transition.
Asset freezes were imposed on the state-owned Syria Trading Oil Company (Sytrol), which is responsible for the country's entire export of oil, and the General Petroleum Corporation (GPC), a government-run oil firm.
Al-Furat Petroleum Company, a joint venture 50 percent owned by GPC, is also on the list.
Syria's only privately-owned political newspaper, Al-Watan, was placed on the list along with Cham Press TV channel, both accused by the EU of participating in "campaigns to spread disinformation and incite violence against demonstrators."
The EU now has sanctions on around 120 Syrian people and companies and is already enforcing an arms embargo and a ban on imports of Syrian crude oil.