BRUSSELS – The European Union agreed on Friday to impose sanctions on 14 Syrian officials for their part in a violent government crackdown against protesters, but President Bashar al-Assad was not among those targeted.
After a meeting of EU ambassadors, the 27 country bloc said it would impose travel restrictions and asset freezes on the 14 individuals, with the measures to be formally approved early next week if no member state objects.
The restrictions, which do not include any move against Syria's oil industry or its exports, will come into law later this month, once the legal framework has been drawn up.
The move follows a decision last week to impose an arms embargo against Syria.
"There is an agreement in principle," an EU official said of the asset freeze and travel ban decision. "It would be adopted probably officially early next week."
While Assad is not on the list, there is the possibility that he will be added in time, the official said.
Syria's defense minister was also not included among the 14.
Assad, grappling with the most serious challenge to his 11-year rule, has ordered the military to crush demonstrators who have been inspired by anti-government revolts in the Middle East and North Africa.
Human rights groups say the army, security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad have killed at least 560 demonstrators since the protests erupted on March 18. (Reuters)