The Council of the European Union has extended sanctions against the Syrian regime for another year and added 11 prominent businessmen and five entities to its embargo list originally imposed in 2011.
Their inclusion brings the sanctions list to 270 persons and 72 entities that will be targeted with a travel ban and an asset freeze. This is a slight increase from the previous year when 259 persons and 67 entities were targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze.
"These businessmen and companies are involved in luxury estate development and other regime-backed projects, and as such support and/or benefit from the Syrian regime," said the Council in a statement published on its website.
"EU sanctions currently in place against Syria also include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, and export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications," the statement continued.
The list is reviewed on an annual basis and the next review being due by 1 June.
The EU said that it "remains committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué." It insisted that "there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva."