Chemical weapons proliferators added to Syria sanctions
The Swiss government has added names of those suspected of aiding in chemical weapons production or use to its list of individuals being sanctioned in Syria.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) added seven individuals and six businesses to its existing sanctions list on Wednesday. Among them are the Organisation for Technological Industries and the Syrian Company for Information Technology belonging to the Syrian Defence Ministry.
Among the individuals named are Bayan Bitar and Ghassan Abbas, who SECO alleges helped proliferate and produce chemical weapons as well as helped carry out attacks against the Syrian population.
Also on the expanded sanctions list are suppliers of resources like oil and steel to the Syrian regime.
In its mentions of chemical weapons, SECO refers to the August 2013 attack in La Ghouta, near the Syrian capital of Damascus, in which estimates say 1300 people were killed. In the aftermath, the Syrian regime signed a deal with the United Nations promising to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.
Most recently, in February, the Swiss cabinet added a ban on the sale of jet fuel and fuel additives to the list of sanctions against the Syrian government.
Swiss sanctions against Syria were first approved in May 2011 to reinforce similar measures taken by the European Union, and have been modified several times since then to reflect the worsening civil war and to coordinate with EU decisions.
The nearly four-year-old conflict in Syria has claimed more than 220,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates.
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