Syria criticized the European Council for sanctioning seven ministers, who were recently appointed to the government, blaming them for playing a role in the continued violent crackdown on civilians.
The government, formed in August, is the fifth since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. The prime minister, Hussein Arnous, was included on the sanctions list in 2014.
With the recently added ministers, the Council’s recent decision brings the number of persons targeted by the EU measures to 280, along with 70 entities.
The restrictive measures, which began in 2011, include a ban on oil imports, restrictions on some investments, and freeze of the Syrian Central Bank’s assets in the European Union. They also cover import and export restrictions on equipment and technology that could be used for internal repression and equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.
The European Council imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime in December 2011 and reviews them annually.
An official source of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Syria condemns the Council's statement on extending the sanctions imposed on institutions and individuals for an additional year under the pretext of developing and using chemical weapons.
The statement, carried by the state news agency (SANA), said the decision is based on misleading information, and part of the ongoing campaign against the Syrian state, which the Council has resorted to since the beginning of the terrorist war on Syria.
The source indicated that this statement affirms once again the Council's lack of credibility, and meets US’ unilateral coercive measures aiming to starve the Syrian people, undermine their steadfastness, and at the same time support armed terrorist groups, including their repeated use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians.
Western countries and UN reports accused Damascus of being behind the chemical attacks on several occasions over the past years.