The European Council added eleven prominent businessmen and five entities to the list of those subject to restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its supporters.
These businessmen and companies are involved in luxury estate development and other regime-backed projects, and as such support or benefit from the Syrian regime, said the Council’s statement on Monday.
The statement named: Anas Talas who is a leading businessperson operating in Syria, with interests and activities in multiple sectors of Syria's economy. He benefits from and supports the Syrian regime. In 2018 the Talas Group, chaired by Anas himself, entered into a SYP 23 billion joint venture with Damascus Cham Holding for the construction of Marota City, a regime-backed luxury residential and commercial development.
Nazir Ahmad Jamal Eddine, who is also a leading businessperson operating in Syria with significant investments in the construction industry, was named in the statement. He holds a controlling 90 percent stake in Apex Development and Projects LLC, which has entered into a $34.8 million joint venture for the construction of Marota. He benefits from and supports the Syrian regime.
Mazin al-Tarazi has significant investments in the construction and aviation sectors. Through his investments and activities, he benefits from and supports the Syrian regime.
Also on the sanctions list, Samer Foz, Khaldoun al-Zoubi, Vice President of Aman Holding, and Aleppo MP Hussam al-Qatirji who supports and benefits from the regime through enabling, and profiting from, trade deals with the regime in relation to oil and wheat.
Bashar Assi is the founding partner of Fly Aman airline and Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Aman Damascus”. In addition to Khaled al-Zubaidi who has significant investments in construction, and owns a 50 percent stake in Zubaidi and Qalei LLC.
Zubaidi and Qalei LLC is constructing the luxury tourist city Grand Town and to which the regime has granted a 45-year agreement in return for 19-21 percent of its revenue.
Hayan Qaddour, and Maen Haykal, both major contributors in Exceed Development and Investment and were named on the list.
The final businessman sanctioned is Nader Qalei who has significant investments in the construction industry and a 50 percent stake in Zubaidi and Qalei LLC.
The statement also identified the following entities: Rawafed Damascus Private Joint Stock Company, Aman Damascus Joint Stock Company, Bunyan Damascus Private Joint Stock Company, Mirza, and Developers Private Joint Stock Company.
With that, the sanctions list now includes 270 persons and 72 entities who are also under restrictive measures such as travel ban and asset freeze.
EU sanctions currently in place against Syria also include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, and export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression, as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.
Sanctions on Syria were originally imposed in 2011 and are reviewed on an annual basis. The next review is due by June 1.
In its statement, the EU asserted that it remains committed to finding a “lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in the 2012 Geneva Communique and as s stated in the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017.”
“The EU believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva,” the statement concluded.