BRUSSELS - The European Union (EU) decided to extend sanctions against Syria on Monday, imposing asset freezes and travel bans on five more Syrian officials "in view of the gravity of the situation" in that country."The EU has decided to impose further restrictive measures, in the forms of an assets freeze and travel ban on five Syrian individuals," EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
The EU move came after fresh violence in Syria at the weekend. A total of 79 Syrians have been reportedly killed in several cities in clashes with security forces on Sunday. Ashton said "the EU will pursue its current policy, including sanctions against those responsible for or associated with" the violence in Syria.
Stressing the EU would continue to "monitor the situation in Syria closely," Ashton warned of more steps "should the Syrian leadership persist in its current path." Syria has been in unrest since mid-March when anti-government protests broke out in Daraa province and spread to other cities. Syrian authorities blame the unrest on "armed groups and foreign conspiracy" and vow to track down gunmen who have intimidated people and damaged public and private properties. (Xinhua)