Skip to main content

EU slaps new sanctions on Syria

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 14, 2012 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Opposition: At least 23 regime soldiers were killed Monday in clashes at Rastan
  • The Syrian government reports 4 deaths, including two army officers
  • Rastan has been pummeled by government attacks, an opposition group says
  • Report: Clashes continue between pro- and anti-Assad factions within Lebanon

Are you there? Send us your images or video.

(CNN) -- European Union foreign ministers on Monday imposed new sanctions on the Syrian regime, urging it to adopt a U.N.-backed peace plan that so far has failed to stop the mounting carnage.

At the same time, effects of the Syrian conflict are being felt in neighboring Lebanon, where clashes have killed at least seven people near Tripoli.

The EU ministers froze the assets of two firms and imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on three people believed to provide funding for the regime, the European Council announced.

It is the 15th time the European Union has imposed restrictions on Syria since a popular uprising began there early last year.

"The continuing violence is appalling," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday, adding that the sanctions are aimed at the regime and not the civilian population.

Map shows area of most recent clashes  Map shows area of most recent clashes
Map shows area of most recent clashesMap shows area of most recent clashes
Syria: 'Disgust' with world response
Unrest continues in strife-torn Syria
Syria releases journalists

"As long as the repression continues, we will continue to put pressure on those responsible for it," she said in Brussels.

Inside Syria on Monday, regime forces suffered heavy casualties during clashes in Rastan, a city that has been pummeled by government forces, opposition activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it received "preliminary information that three armored personnel carriers were destroyed and that at least 23 soldiers were killed."

Elsewhere in Syria, at least four people were killed Monday, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network. The dead included a child struck by random gunfire from the regime's army in Deir Ezzor, the LCC said.

The group also posted reports of the military aiming mortars and heavy artillery at the Homs village of Al-Burnhanieh.

The Syrian government on Monday reported four deaths, including a colonel and lieutenant colonel killed by "armed terrorist groups" in Damascus and Daraa, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

CNN cannot independently verify reports of deaths and violence because the Syrian government has severely restricted access by international media.

The Syrian conflict is playing a role in clashes that broke out Sunday in neighboring Lebanon, where it has ignited historic divisions among residents of two Tripoli suburbs.

The fighting in Lebanon pits residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh, a Sunni stronghold hostile to the Syrian regime, against Alawite residents of Jabal Mohsen, who support Syrian President and fellow Alawite Bashar al-Assad.

At least seven people have been killed and 45 others hurt in the two days of fighting, Lebanon's National News Agency reported Monday.

Islamists in northern Lebanon, specifically Tripoli, have opposed the Syrian regime for decades. But as Syria strengthened its control over Lebanon in the 1990s, it also strengthened elements of the Alawite community, a Shiite offshoot, in the north.

The fighting in the Tripoli suburbs is part of the legacy of Syrian intervention in northern Lebanon, according to Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa program at the London think tank Chatham House.

It was the arrest of Islamist activist Chadi Mawlawi that sparked the current fighting. One of his cousins says Mawlawi was supporting the Syrian rebels and trying to help Syrian refugees by providing shelter and food.

Though the Lebanese government accuses Mawlawi of being an operative in an al Qaeda-inspired group -- something his relatives deny -- it may have been Mawlawi's help to the refugees that got him in trouble.

Annan: Civil war possible in Syria
Annan: Syria running out of options
Can Annan's Syria plan be salvaged?

Helping Syrian refugees puts the Lebanese government in a difficult position as it tries to stay out of the Syrian conflict, Shehadi told CNN.

"The Lebanese government's aim is to maintain neutrality and avoid spillover from Syria to Lebanon, but that's an impossible objective to attain because if you help the refugees, you're supporting the revolution, and if you don't help the revolution, you're supporting the regime. So in both cases, neutrality is impossible to maintain," Shehadi said.

A team of U.N. monitors is in Syria to see how well both sides are implementing a six-point peace plan brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Annan said last week that the observers are the last hope for success of the plan, which involves a cease-fire by all parties and the withdrawal of Syrian forces from populated areas.

Since the cease-fire went into effect on April 12, the fighting and killing have continued, with the LCC reporting more than 1,000 deaths in the intervening weeks.

The United Nations estimates that at least 9,000 people have died in the 14-month crisis, while opposition groups put the death toll at more than 11,000.

Despite the ongoing chaos, Syrian state-run media announced that results from recent parliamentary elections will be announced Tuesday. More than 7,000 candidates vied for 250 parliamentary seats.

But members of the opposition had urged Syrians to boycott the elections, saying a vote for any of the candidates amounted to a vote for al-Assad, whose family has ruled the country for 42 years.

CNN's Saad Abedine, Laura Perez Maestro and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0933 GMT (1733 HKT)
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1616 GMT (0016 HKT)
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT