EU blacklists seven Syrian ministers over links to Assad

More than 270 people are under EU sanctions for their roles in the Syrian regime

FILE PHOTO: People walk in front of a bilboard with a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Homs, Syria, September 18, 2018. Picture taken September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica/File Photo
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The EU added Syria’s interior minister and six other ministers to a sanctions blacklist for their role in what it called President Bashar Al Assad’s “violent repression” of civilians.

The ministers, who were appointed to Mr Al Assad’s government in November, have been barred from travelling to Europe and will have their assets frozen.

Among those added to the blacklist are Maj Gen Mohammad Khaled Al Rahmoun – the interior minister – and Mohammad Rami Radwan Martini, the tourism minister.

Education Minister Imad Muwaffaq Al Azab, Higher Education Minister Bassam Bashir Ibrahim, Housing Minister Suhail Mohammad Abdullatif, Communications Minister Iyad Mohammad Al Khatib, and Industry Minister Mohammad Maen Zein-Al Abidin Jazba were also included in the sanctions.

There are 277 people under EU sanctions for links to the Al Assad regime, as well as 72 entities. Other EU sanctions include an embargo on Syrian oil, investment restrictions and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets within the European Union.

They also cover export restrictions on equipment and technology that Damascus could use to repress its people as well as those it could use to monitor or intercept internet or telephone calls.

On January 21, the EU Council sanctioned a number of prominent businessmen for profiting from their ties with the regime.

They included Anas Talas, chairman of the Talas Group, Nazir Ahmad Jamal Eddine, a leading businessman with significant investments in the construction industry through the company Apex Development and Projects LLC, and Samer Foz, who is involved in the development of Marota City, a luxury residential and commercial development.

EU sanctions have been in force since December 1, 2011, and are subjected to annual review.