This week the European Union increased its sanctions on Syria in a continued attempt to halt the killing of protesters by President Bashar Assad.According to the Washington Post the EU imposed sanctions on 18 additional Syrian individuals on Monday, which would amount to visa and travel bans as well as the freezing of assets.
In all, 56 Syrian individuals and 19 Syrian organisations have been sanctioned by the EU since the beginning of the uprisings some eight months ago. There has also been a ban on importing Syrian oil to the EU.
However, there is another side to European involvement in the country’s struggle. Deutsche-Welle reports today that there is a growing concern about European online surveillance companies selling technology that’s being used on the protesters.
One Italian company, Area, has been found to be supplying Assad’s government with surveillance technology, likely to be used by the Syrian leader to monitor dissident residents. The company were aided by other U.S. and Europe-based companies in fulfilling a contract with the regime worth $17.9 million.
Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, has called out for the EU to stop European companies from aiding Assad. However, (at the time of writing at least) there is nothing illegal in what Area is doing, since no sanctions prohibit the sale of this technology to Syria.
Schaake was reportedly in the minority in voicing her concerns over the surveillance technology, though reports suggest Area may be considering pulling out of the deal to supply the Syrian government.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.