European Union Threatens Sanctions against Syria Government Supporters

European Union Threatens Sanctions against Syria Government Supporters
Thu Oct 20, 2016 18:02:35

The European Union has threatened to impose bans against supporters of the Syrian government, particularly Russia, which has been on an anti-terrorism mission in the Arab country for more than a year.

“The EU is considering all options, including further restrictive measures targeting individuals and entities supporting” the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if the current situation continues in Syria,  said a draft statement obtained by AFP before the EU summit in Brussels that opens later on Thursday.

The text claims that the Syrian government and its allies, “notably Russia,” are targeting civilians in their anti-terror campaign in the battered northwestern city of Aleppo. Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly denied the allegation.

It further urges “unhindered humanitarian access to Aleppo” and to other parts of Syria and calls “for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for resumption of a credible political process under UN auspices.”

The draft also warns that “those responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law … must be held accountable.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, should continue pursuing medical evacuations in cooperation with the United Nations, according to the text.

It further asks Mogherini to push for what it calls a political transition in Syria by working with the region’s main players.

Following a meeting in Luxembourg earlier this week, the EU’s 28 ministers vowed to impose further restrictive measures against Syrian individuals and entities backing the government of President Assad.

Aleppo has been the frontline of Syria’s fight against different Takfiri militant groups occupying the city’s eastern flanks.

Backed by Russia airpower, Syrian armed forces and allied popular defense groups have in recent months dealt heavy blows to the militant groups operating in eastern Aleppo.

The latest report could further deepen tensions between Moscow and the West, which are already entangled in another dispute over the conflict in Ukraine. The Westerners have slapped a series of sanctions against Moscow over its alleged role in the Ukraine crisis.

S/SH 11

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