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EU Imposes Travel Ban, Assets Freeze on Syrian First Lady

EU Imposes Travel Ban, Assets Freeze on Syrian First Lady

European Union foreign ministers issued a travel ban and assets freeze on Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The sanctions list already included her husband and other Syrian officials; the EU’s travel ban also extends to Assad’s family, with sanctions now placed onhis mother, sister and sister-in-law.

Meanwhile, Kofi Annan, special envoy to the United Nations and Arab League, is en route to Moscow and Beijing to discuss the crisis and calls for an immediate end to the violence, which has gone on for over a year and led to the deaths of an estimated 8,000 to 9,000. Russia and China have twice vetoed UN Security Council resolutions to demand that Assad step down as the first phase of transferring political power.

The EU’s imposing a “limited expansion of commercial sanctions” is another attempt to use economic pressure to end the conflict. Previously, the EU has called for an embargo on oil imports from Syria as well as sanctions against the country’s central bank, other companies and state institutions.

36-year-old Asma al-Assad had lived most of her life in England prior to her marriage to Assad in 2000. She had worked as an investment banker; the UK Border Agency has confirmed that she holds a British passport and, despite the EU travel ban, she “cannot be refused entry to the UK,” says the BBC. But the travel ban, and the revelation from a leaked email cache that Asma al-Assad has been occupied with shopping for luxury goods as thousands have been killed, injured and suffering under siege by the Syrian army, have done away with previous notions of her as a liberalizing force on her husband.

Activists report that at least 40 people were killed across Syria on Thursday, with most in the provinces of Idlib and Homs. Ten civilians, including two women and three children, were killed on a bus that was shot at as they attempted to flee to Turkey. Currently there are some 17,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey and an estimated 1,000 arriving every day via the 500-mile border the country shares with Syria. The Guardian quoted Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels:

“I compare Homs with Sarajevo [in the 1990s]. No one can justify attacking urban areas indiscriminately. Now they are attacking urban areas with heavy weapons. We have to act quickly This massacre must be stopped.”

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Natalie Portman, Patrick Stewart and Susan Sarandon Unite for Syria

Russia Denies Its Troops Are in Syria, Accused of Stalling For Assad

Russian Troops Sent to Syria

 

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32 comments

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8:53AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Poor Michael M

You have clearly swallowed the relentless propaganda spewed out by the corporate Zionist influenced media over the past few months. Yet even these media, to retain a semblance of credibility have been forces to show glimmers of the truth. Have you not noticed the difference in tone and contents of the news recently? The Syrian government and Syrians who support al-Assad have been given a voice. Reports of Qataris and jihadists having been arrested are appearing - and these reports are confirmed, unlike the crap communiques put out by the externally armed rebels which the TV stations publish with a disclaimer, but highlight anyway. And car and suicide bombs are being claimed by al Qaeda. Indeed, Hilary said on UK news that the West is dangerously near to allying itself to al Qaeda in Syria.

6:33AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

@John D.

Keep trying to twist every comment anyone makes into a sales pitch for assad.
You're going to find out very quickly that none of us will ever have any respect for a person that can sit back and let thousands of people die just so you can maintain your blind faith in a dictatorship.
You can continue your ignorant posts if you want,
but you're only helping to expose everyone of you who support this as being heartless, cruel and lacking of any basic humanity.
I hope that you have to be oppressed under the same kind of violence someday if you can just write these people of john.
Maybe then you'd understand why it's universally wrong to do this to anyone.

6:28AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

It's about time.

Those who are supporting this kind of violent fascist must seriously have no compassion at all.
Assad is the worst out of all of them so far.
To just sit back and let thousands of people die just to maintain your blind faith in a dictatorship is inexcusable in every way.
How anybody can just write off the lives of women and children like it's nothing is beyond me.
Someday the tables might turn on you
and the only hope in hell you'll have of surviving it are the rebels and protesters that stand up for your basic rights to life and freedom.

1:33PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Stella B

"Asma, you heartless, cruel, greedy bitch"

What are you saying, exactly? That rich people shouldn't buy goods? I don't suppose that you even know that the al-Assads lead lives far less opulent than most.

11:17AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

In my opinion the al-Assad's are continuing on with their own lives, emailing for nonsensible items, while people are dying in the streets and in the streets where al-Assad grew up. The more sanctions they place on these two the better.
It makes no difference who started or why this war started, the actual fact is that it is happening to innocent people right now, and all the while the al-Assad's don't really care.

6:50AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

David K

"The slaughter of ones' own people is absolutely indefensible especially when the reason is to retain an unpopular leadership."

An unpopular leadership? You are quite wrong. The al-Assad legitimate government holds majority support and now that it has wiped out that viper's nest of foreign rebels in Homs, it is poised to put down the externally directed and financed insurrection.

3:33AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Bill you are right.Hillary's policy spoiled and created violance in the Middle-East. The Arab Spring Uprising did not bring democracy, but created an islamic comunity wich in the long run will have a negative impact not only in the USA but In the EU btoo. So Hillary made a great mistake.

1:45AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

The slaughter of ones' own people is absolutely indefensible especially when the reason is to retain an unpopular leadership. Any action which international organisations can take to overcome this slaughter can only be praised.

12:18AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

So good to see Martin L's comments, amongst all the uninformed opinions here.

9:51PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Some may say better late than never. But then by counting the number of bodies in the streets in Syria, the only question we all will be asking is, are we doing enough?

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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