EU Imposes New Sanctions on Syrian Scientists and Officials

Syrians receive medical treatment after the Assad regime carried out a chemical gas attack in Damascus Syria on 13 July 2017

Syrians receive medical treatment after the Assad regime carried out a chemical gas attack in Damascus Syria on 13 July 2017

"What the council will be agreeing today is that 16 named individuals will be sanctioned, their movements will be restricted, their assets will be frozen", Johnson said on arrival to the Foreign Affairs Council.

Britain says the European Union will sanction 16 Syrians it is convinced are involved in chemical weapons attacks against civilians there, targeting military and scientific officials. The EU added these16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, in line with the EU's policy to fight the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. The EU had already imposed restrictive measures on high ranking officials, most recently on 4 March 2017 for the use of chemical weapons.

The EU will release the names of those hit by the sanctions on Tuesday, the statement said.

The April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in which 58 people were killed by what experts consider to be exposure to sarin, led to the USA launch of 59 tomahawk missiles on the al-Shariat air base in Homs on April 6, blaming the Syrian government for the chemical attack - claims which Syria's leader denies.

Eight Syrian scientists and eight top military officials were put on sanctions through measures agreed upon by European Union foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels.

The sanctions decision "shows the resolve of the United Kingdom and the rest of our friends in Europe in dealing with those who are responsible for chemical weapons attacks", British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters in Brussels before the decision was announced.

The chemical attack inside Idlib led to the U.S. firing missiles against Syrian military positions inside Syria.

The EU also maintains an oil embargo on Syria, freezing the assets of the Syrian Central Bank in the EU and imposing restrictions on the export of equipment and technology that can be used for what it calls internal repression or control of the internet or telephone communications.