European Union Organisation sanctions 16 more Syrians over chemical attacks

Syrians receive medical treatment after the Assad regime carried out a chemical gas attack in Damascus Syria on 13 July 2017

Syrians receive medical treatment after the Assad regime carried out a chemical gas attack in Damascus Syria on 13 July 2017

European Union foreign ministers are set to agree a fresh round of sanctions against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad over its use of chemical weapons against its own people.

The European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on 16 Syrian scientists and military officials today for their suspected involvement in the chemical attack in northern Syria in April which killed more than 80 people.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said 16 named military officers and scientists would be subjected to travel bans and asset freezes when ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.

Last month, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said sarin gas had been used in an April 4 attack on the village of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province that caused dozens of deaths.

In an interview with teleSUR, Assad alleged that USA officials are lying about their claims regarding Syria having chemical weapons, saying that armed opposition groups and their sponsors are to blame and also recalled Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous testimony at the United Nations in 2003 where he said that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, only to be revealed as a lie years after the US invasion of Iraq.

The EU will release the names of those hit by the sanctions on Tuesday, the statement said.

The sanctions decision "shows the resolve of the United Kingdom and the rest of our friends in Europe in dealing with those who are responsible for chemical weapons attacks", said the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson.

The EU also maintains an oil embargo on Syria, freezing the assets of the Syrian Central Bank in the EU and imposing restrictions on the export of equipment and technology that can be used for what it calls internal repression or control of the internet or telephone communications.

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