The European Union has imposed sanctions on 16 Syrians “for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population”, the EU Council said.
“The Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. The EU added these 16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population,” it said.
The targeted individuals include eight high-ranking military officials and eight scientists “involved in chemical weapons proliferation and delivery.” A total of 255 Syrians are now targeted under Brussels’ travel ban and an asset freeze in addition to 67 entities, according to the EU Council.
The EU institution’s corresponding legal act and the names of the 16 sanctioned Syrians are expected to be published in the Official Journal on Tuesday, July 18.
In April, the White House already sanctioned 271 employees of the center over their alleged involvement in the chemical weapons production in Syria. The restrictive measures included the freeze of the sanctioned individuals’ assets in the US banks as well as the prohibition for the US companies to conduct business operations with those individuals.
On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces reported that dozens of people had been killed by the suspected chemical weapons attack in the country’s Idlib province. The opposition forces backed by the United States blamed the incident on the forces of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
Damascus has denied any involvement in the incident, saying that the complete elimination of the Syrian government’s stockpile of chemical weapons was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in January 2016.
On April 20, Assad in an interview with Sputnik said that there had been no chemical attack in Idlib and the footage proving it had been falsified. The Syrian leader called the incident a provocation to justify Washington’s attack on the Syrian government’s military airfield on April 6.