The EU Is Imposing Sanctions And Travel Bans On Syrian Dictator Assad's Wife And Family

Asmaa Al Assad Bashar Al Assad Syria

Photo: Salah Malkawi/Getty

The EU has decided to impose sanctions on the wife, mother, sister, and sister-in-law of Syrian President Bashar Assad, freezing their assets and banning them from travelling to the EU in a continuing attempt to stop the violent crackdown on opposition, The New York Times reports.

The sanctions will come into effect on Saturday. The list of people to be sanctioned, which already includes Assad himself, was also expanded to include eight ministers, and EU companies will be forbidden to do business with two Syrian oil companies as well, according to the AP.

“With this new listing we are striking at the heart of the Assad clan, sending out a loud and clear message to Mr. Assad: he should step down,” Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said on the sidelines of the EU ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Reuters reports.

But the EU has already imposed 12 rounds of sanctions on the Syrian regime to little effect. In fact, the crackdown, which the UN estimates has killed more than 8,000 people since it began last year, has only gotten worse.

President Assad’s wife, Asma, in particular, seems an obvious target for the sanctions. A London-born former investment banker, she became a much-reviled figure for many Syrians when transcripts of email exchanges with her husband emerged: they showed the two were buying pop music online and living in luxury during the bloodshed.

But the restrictions placed on her might prove hollow: Asma Assad holds a British passport and could likely not be prevented from entering Britain.

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