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Middle East

EU imposes sanctions on Syria's President Assad

media Syrian president Bashir al-Assad, 23 March, 2010 Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

The European Union imposed sanctions on Syria for the first time on Monday, citing "unacceptable violence" and calling for an immediate halt to intimidation, mass arrests and torture.

EU foreign ministers also demanded the release of prisoners and access across the country for aid workers, medics and the press.

The ministers agreed at a meeting in Brussels to add Assad and nine other officials to a list of people affected by travel bans and asset freezes.

The European Union had already imposed sanctions on the president's brother, four of his cousins and others in his inner circle.

Activists say five people were shot dead at funerals in Homs on Saturday.

They were mourning some of the anti-government protestors killed by security forces after Friday prayers in the city, in central Syria.

Monday's EU announcement of sanctions came after US President Obama imposed sanctions on Mr. Assad for human rights abuses - the first western leader to do so.

 

 

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