Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Syrian businessmen with links to Assad regime hit by European sanctions

Eight businessmen and two entities have been added by the EU and UK to sanctions lists

A picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decorates the al-Buzuriya market in the Old City of the Syrian capital Damascus AFP
A picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decorates the al-Buzuriya market in the Old City of the Syrian capital Damascus AFP

The EU and Britain have imposed sanctions on eight Syrian businessmen and two companies linked to the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.

On Monday the EU announced it would apply the sanctions on people who directly profited from Syria’s civil war.

Those sanctions brings the total list of people and companies hit with travel bans and assets freezes to 277 and 71.

The EU has also imposed an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze on assets of the Syrian central bank in the EU, and export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for repression.

The EU’s official journal says those hit include Yasser Abbas, a leading businessman who has benefited from fuel and weapons smuggling in Syria, Saqr Rustom, head of a pro-government militia in Homs, and Mahir Al Imam, general manager of the regime-backed Tesla Communication Group.

The two companies hit with the new sanctions are Al Qatarji and Damascus Cham Holding.

The EU said Al Qatarji enabled fuel, arms and ammunition trade between the regime and organisations including ISIS under the pretext of importing and exporting food.

It has supported militias fighting alongside the regime and taken advantage of the ties to expand its commercial activity.

Damascus Cham Holding was established by the regime as the investment arm of the Governorate of Damascus.

It has managed the properties of the governorate and implemented the Marota City project, a luxurious real estate scheme on expropriated land.

Under the terms its transition out of the EU, Britain has also adopted the sanctions.

“Syria’s appalling regime has unleashed unimaginable suffering upon its own people,” UK Middle East Minister James Cleverly said.

“The UK continues to work closely with European partners to sanction those profiting from the devastating Syrian war.

"We will also continue to champion the international rules that keep us safe, and which the Assad regime seeks to undermine."

Updated: February 18, 2020 01:12 AM

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