A high-ranking European official said yesterday that the EU intends to extend sanctions imposed on the Syrian government, despite the spread of the coronavirus.
The unnamed official told reporters in Brussels that the extension "will send a strong message that the [regime's] current approach; which includes violence, the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the use of chemical weapons, is totally unacceptable," Russia's TASS news agency reported.
The official called for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
Another official from the European Union's Foreign Affairs has also confirmed that the sanctions will soon be extended.
Earlier this month, the Syrian Health Minister, Dr. Nizar Yazigi, said during the 73rd Session of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) World Health Assembly (WHA) that "harsh and unjust" US and European sanctions hinder efforts to combat the coronavirus in Syria.
The EU imposed sanctions on the Syrian government in 2011, renewing them on an annual basis. The sanctions include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology with dual use as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.
The list of sanctions includes 255 persons and 67 entities.