EU Considers Sanctions Against Assad Regime Supporters
RFE/RL October 20, 2016
The European Union is weighing sanctions against supporters of President Bashar al-Assad if they fail to stop atrocities in Syria.
That's according to a draft statement obtained by RFE/RL before a summit of EU leaders opens in Brussels later on October 20.
The text says the bloc is "considering all options, including further restrictive measures targeting individuals and entities supporting the [Syrian] regime, should the current atrocities continue."
The threat appears to target Russia, which Western leaders have criticized for its support of a military offensive by Syrian government forces on the northern city of Aleppo.
The draft statement "strongly condemns the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo."
After talks with the German and Russian leaders in Berlin, French President Francois Hollande said, "What is happening in Aleppo is a war crime."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the bombardment of Syria's largest city as "inhumane."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the accusations as "rhetoric" that do not take into account the realities in Syria.
Ahead of the Brussels summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on the EU to "continue to put pressure on Russia to stop its appalling atrocities, its sickening atrocities in Syria."
"The EU should keep all options open, including sanctions [against Russia], if the crimes continue," European Council President Donald Tusk said.
With reporting by AFP
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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