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EU sanctions four Syrian ministers

EU sanctions four Syrian ministers
The European Union on Monday sanctioned four ministers in the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo by EPA-EFE/SANA

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The European Union blacklisted four recently appointed Syrian ministers with targeted sanctions for their role in perpetuating the crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

The council agreed Monday to sanction Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Amr Salem, Minister of Information Boutros al-Hallaq, Minster of Labor and Social Affairs Mohammad Seifeddine and Minister of State Diala Barakat.

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All were appointed to their positions in August, and they replace on the EU sanction list those who previously held those positions.

"The goal of the EU sanctions is to put pressure on the Syrian regime to halt repression and negotiate a lasting political settlement of the Syrian crisis in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254," the council said in a statement, referring to the U.N. document endorsing a road map for peace in Syria.

The Middle Eastern country has been thrust into chaos since 2011 when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests, igniting a civil war.

In the decade since the war began, more than 6.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country with another 6.7 million being internally displaced, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

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The EU introduced a sanctions regime in 2011 in response to the repressive clamp down on the Syrian population, blacklisting a total 287 people and 70 entities with travel bans and asset freezes.

The sanctions, the council said "are part and parcel of the EU's wider approach to the Syria Crisis.

"Sanctions on Syria remain under constant review," it said.

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