EU to expand Syria sanctions: Sources

EU to expand Syria sanctions: Sources
Syrian Kurds use binoculars as they stand on a hill looking down on clashes between jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish fighters, close to the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanlinurfa province, on September 28, 2014.

LUXEMBOURG - European Union foreign ministers have agreed to expand sanctions against Syria, adding 16 names and two entities to the blacklist, EU sources said Monday.

Most of the new names were targeted for their role in government-directed repression in Syria and others for offering "practical support" to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, one diplomatic source said.

Another source said the changes were made so as to include recently appointed Syrian officials on the sanctions list.

The EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg are expected to make a formal announcement later Monday, the sources said.

In July, the EU had added three people and nine entities to the list of Syrians subject to an asset freeze and a ban on entering the EU.

The July decision brought the total number of people on the EU Syria sanctions list to 192, alongside 62 entities.

The EU also maintains an oil embargo on Syria and curbs on financial transactions.

The United Nations estimates that more than 191,000 people have died in Syria since a 2011 popular uprising against Assad turned into a bloody sectarian conflict which has also displaced millions and destroyed much of the country.

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