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Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union widened sanctions against Syria in a push to end a violent crackdown on opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, adding 18 people including senior military and intelligence officials to its blacklist.
The EU announcement came as international pressure on Syria grew, with Jordan’s King Abdullah urging Assad to step down and the Jeddah-based Arab News, which has links to the Saudi royal family, saying “It is time for Assad to go” in the headline of an editorial. The EU measures, approved by the bloc’s 27 governments yesterday, impose asset freezes and a travel ban on people who are said to be responsible for the violence.
The EU sanctions also target members of Syria’s electronic surveillance forces and Deputy Interior Minister Saqr Khayr Bek, according to the EU’s Official Journal. The move brings to 74 the number of Syrians blacklisted by the EU. European companies are forbidden from doing business with 19 firms and groups.
Protests to demand Assad’s ouster began in March as part of a wave of unrest across the Middle East and North Africa this year that has unseated governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Assad has blamed the demonstrations in Syria on foreign-backed extremists. The crackdown has left more than 3,500 people dead, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Nov. 8.
--Editors: Leon Mangasarian, Heather Langan.
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