The European Union has imposed sanctions on Syria's foreign minister following his recent appointment to the role. Faisal Mekdad was added to the EU sanctions and restrictions list applicable to the Syrian regime after a decision by the European Council on Friday. He is now subject to a travel ban and having his assets frozen.
The measures taken against the minister, who took over after his predecessor Walid Muallem's death in November, brings the total number of persons targeted by EU sanctions to 289. The last instance of the bloc sanctioning the Syrian regime was in the same month, when eight newly-appointed ministers were listed.
Sanctions limit the operational capabilities and international reach of companies, businesses, individuals and other entities which are affiliated with the regime and its war crimes, such as the killing of civilians.
Despite such international measures, however, the Assad regime and its affiliates worldwide have long managed to circumvent them through involvement in international narcotics smuggling, the use of front companies overseas, offshore tax havens and a vast business network which all channel funds to Damascus.