Brussels - The European Union on Monday placed 17 Syrian ministers plus the central bank governor on a sanctions blacklist targeting the regime of President Bashar Assad over attacks on civilians.
They face travel bans and asset freezes for "being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons", an EU statement said.
EU leaders agreed at a summit in October to increase sanctions against the Assad regime, citing devastating attacks on Syria's second city of Aleppo, and added 10 top military and government officials to the list.
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But suggestions they might also sanction Russia, which has backed long-time ally Assad's offensives against rebel forces and flown many of the missions against Aleppo, were dropped after sharp differences emerged.
The decision brings to more than 230 the number of Syrian individuals hit with travel bans or asset freezes, it said.
Another 69 entities are affected by asset freezes while the EU also has in place other sanctions against Syria as a whole, including arms and oil embargoes plus investment restrictions.