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EU sanctions four Syrians over chemical attacks

UN chemical weapons experts prepare before collecting samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus' suburb of Zamalka, August 29, 2013. — Reuters picUN chemical weapons experts prepare before collecting samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus' suburb of Zamalka, August 29, 2013. — Reuters picBRUSSELS, March 20 — The EU today placed four high-ranking Syrian army officers on a sanctions blacklist targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad over chemical weapons attacks on civilians.

The decision brings to 239 the number of Syrian individuals hit with travel bans or asset freezes over the violent suppression of civilians since a civil war erupted in 2011, according to a European Union statement.

“The EU added these four persons for their role in the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, in line with the EU’s policy to fight the proliferation and use of chemical weapons,” it said.

Another 67 entities are affected by asset freezes while the EU also has in place other sanctions against Syria as a whole, including arms and oil embargoes plus investment restrictions and a freeze of Syrian central bank assets.

These measures were last extended in May last year until June this year.

“The EU remains committed to finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework,” it said. — AFP

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