NEWS DIGEST – EU member states on Monday said that they were adding seven Syrian government ministers to a list of individuals subjected to an asset freeze and travel ban since the Syrian war began in 2011.
The addition brings the full count to 277 individuals, who are “responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria.
“The individuals were benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons,” a statement from the Council of the EU noted.
In addition, 72 entities are subjected to an asset freeze by the EU.
Syria also faces an oil embargo, export bans on arms and sensitive technology, and other restrictive measures.
The announcement, issued in the EU’s Official Journal, is effective on Monday.
The seven new names on the list are all government ministers, who were appointed in November 2018 following a cabinet reshuffle by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
They include the interior, housing, communications and industry portfolios.
The EU has also targeted Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.
In January, it imposed new sanctions on Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre, holding it “responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons,” as well as on five officials “directly involved” in its activities.
The announcement precedes an EU-UN conference on Syria in Brussels on March 12-14, where leaders will focus on the refugee crisis, humanitarian aid and support for the UN-lead peace process.
In another development, Jordan on Monday decided to allow Jordanian airlines to resume using Syrian airspace for their flights, the state-run Petra news agency reported.
Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission said it allowed the airlines to resume using the Syrian airspace after they look into the situation.
Jordanian airlines flights using Syrian space were suspended in 2012.
The commission said airlines wishing to use Syrian airspace needed to provide a study of assessments of risks and which routes and altitudes they seek to use, according to Petra.
The commission added that it was still assessing the conditions of Syrian airports, especially Damascus airport.
Royal Jordanian officials said they were aware of the commission’s decision, but the airline did not take a decision in this regard.
The Royal Jordanian said on its social account page that it would assess the situation before any decision in this regard.
It is noteworthy that Jordanian airlines currently use Egyptian airspace to head to Beirut and use the Israeli airspace to head to Turkey. (dpa/NAN)