image Photo: Reuters

EU extends sanctions on Syria

Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have separately condemned the European Union over its decision to extend sanctions against the “Syrian regime and its supporters” for one year over the continued oppression of Syria’s civilian population by Damascus authorities.

Following the decision, High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell stressed that the 27 member state alliance “is determined to continue its support to the Syrian people and 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.”

The EU Foreign Policy Chief went on to accuse the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its supporters of responsibility for the suffering of the civilian population, adding that those responsible will be targeted by the EU sanctions. Others affected by the punitive European measures will include war-profiteers, as well as those who finance and benefit from the war economy.

Syria’s ally Russia strongly condemned the EU decision. “It is disappointing that the European Union followed the United States to extend unilateral sanctions against Syria,” said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, claiming, “We have noted more than once that these restrictions cripple the Syrian economy, and worse still, limit the procurement of vital medicine and medical equipment, and humanitarian supplies.”

Spokeswoman Zakharova insisted that “the announced exemptions and waivers do not actually work, and are highly bureaucratized, as confirmed by the humanitarian workers based in Syria.”

Assad’s other patron Iran also slammed the EU sanctions as “an illegal and inhumane act,” according to Tehran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi. He also demanded that Brussels immediately lift all sanctions against Syria.

It is important to note that in addition to extending its punitive steps against Syria, the EU also removed two individuals and one company from its blacklist after having determined that they “halted their sanctionable behavior.”