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Use of chemical weapons in Syria: EU imposes sanctions against 4 high-ranking military officials

On 20 March 2017, the Council added 4 high-ranking military officials to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. The EU added these 4 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.

This decision brings to 239 persons the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an assets freeze for being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons.

In addition, 67 entities are targeted by an assets freeze. More broadly, sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications. These measures were last extended on 27 May 2016 and are in place until 1 June 2017.

The EU remains committed to finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework, as there is no military solution to the Syrian civil war. The EU is also the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis, with over €9.4 billion from the EU and Member States collectively allocated in humanitarian and development assistance since the start of the conflict. To define how the EU could play an even stronger role, the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have adopted a joint communication proposing a forward-looking EU strategy for Syria on 14 March 2017, which will be presented to the next Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April.

The legal acts adopted by the Council, including the names of the persons concerned, are published in the Official Journal of 21 March 2017. They were  adopted by written procedure.

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