The Latest: EU slaps sanctions on more Syrian businessmen
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The European Union is adding 11 businessmen and five companies to its list of Syrians under sanctions for backing President Bashar Assad’s government.
EU foreign ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes on them, saying they “are involved in luxury estate development and other regime-backed projects, and as such support and/or benefit from the Syrian regime.”
Monday’s move in Brussels means the EU sanctions list now includes 270 people and 72 “entities,” which are usually companies, organizations or agencies.
The EU began imposing sanctions on Assad and his supporters in 2011. They are reviewed every year.
The measures include an oil embargo, investment restrictions, a freeze on Syrian central bank assets held in the EU, and export bans on equipment that could be used to crack down on civilians.
Turkey’s president has told his American counterpart, Donald Trump, that Turkey’s “ready to take over the security” of a key northern Syrian town “without losing time.”
A statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office says the two leaders spoke on the telephone early Monday about the town of Manbij in Syria.
The fate of the Syrian town, controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers terrorists, has been a source of tension between Ankara and Washington. Turkey insists on the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish militia, which liberated Manbij from the Islamic State group in 2016.
Erdogan also called last week’s suicide attack in Manbij that killed four Americans a “provocation meant to affect the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria.”
The statement says Trump and Erdogan agreed their military chiefs would “speed up” consultations about a safe zone in northeastern Syria.
Syrian state media and a war monitoring group are reporting that an explosion has gone off in Syria’s northeastern province of Hassakeh, inflicting casualties.
The state news agency SANA and the Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, say the blast was a suicide bombing that targeted a Syrian Kurdish checkpoint near the town of Shaddadeh.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the blast targeted a convoy of the U.S.-led coalition and U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters, adding that five people were killed in the blast. There was no immediate confirmation of that report.
Monday’s attack came days after a suicide attack killed 16 people, including four Americans, in the northern town of Manbij in Syria.