EU sanctions on Syrian leader wife, mother as Annan in Russia, China

Published March 23rd, 2012 - 01:11 GMT
Syrian president and wife
Syrian president and wife

According to diplomatic sources, the EU is to adopt Friday a new series of sanctions against the Syrian regime which are expected to include the wife, mother, sister and sister in-law of the Syrian president. The sanctions will freeze their assets and prohibit visa for Europe.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces bombed several rebel cities Friday where thousands of demonstrators marched in anti-regime rallies. Heavy fighting erupted between government troops and the Free Syrian Army in Aazaz, a town near the Turkish border through which many wounded and civilians fleeing the violence.

A total of four soldiers, a deserter and two civilians were killed early Friday, after the death of 62 people on Thursday, according to Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

On the diplomatic front, Kofi Annan, the UN and the Arab League envoy, is to visit this weekend in Russia and China, the faithful allies of Damascus who voted Wednesday in support of a UN declaration calling for an end to violence.

The Syrian government newspaper Tishreen welcomed the UN declaration, but did not say whether the regime would comply. The opposition had denounced the declaration, noting that it was below the expectations of the Syrian people.

A mission sent by Mr. Annan to Syria left the country Thursday "after three days of intensive talks". "The Syrian authorities have given us answers, and we will now study them carefully," the spokesman for Mr. Annan conveyed.

"The situation on the ground is very serious, every minute counts, and we must move forward quickly" in the negotiations that are "at a delicate point," he said. 

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