EU places sanctions on 16 Syrians over chemical weapons

High-ranking military, scientists listed over targeting of civilians

Sixteen individuals suspected of involvement in Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program were added to a EU sanctions list Monday.

The eight high-ranking Syrian military officials and eight scientists were identified as having a role in developing and using of chemical weapons against civilians, the EU said.

The six-year conflict has seen chemical weapons repeatedly used against civilians, with most attacks widely blamed on the Assad regime.

Last month, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said sarin gas had been used in an April 4 attack on the village of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province that caused dozens of deaths.

In a statement on its website, the EU Council said: “Today’s decision brings to 255 persons the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an assets freeze for being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria.”

The council said 67 entities had also been subjected to an assets freeze and sanctions including an oil embargo, restrictions on investments and a freeze on the Syrian central bank.

The EU measures will be in place until June 2018, the statement added.

The conflict in Syria has resulted in more than 400,000 deaths, according to the UN special envoy, and more than 11 million forced from their homes.