"On 19 March 2018, the Council added 4 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. The EU added these 4 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 Council said in a press release.
The sanctions were announced after last week's "technical error", when the Council of the EU published a statement addressing fresh sanctions on Syria for chemical attacks against civilians; the memo is dated March 19 - the day when the foreign ministers of the EU member-states were expected to meet in Brussels.
As the Council's press service commented afterward, it was a technical error, which might happen from time to time due to task overload. The document was quickly removed it from the official website.
The today's announcement confirms the leaked statement: four people were added to the list of individuals falling under restrictions against the Syrian government for developing chemical weapons and using them against civilians.
The publication, however, did not disclose the identities of those Syrian officials.
The European Union imposed restrictions on Syrian officials who relate to the development an the use of chemical weapons in the country, in July 2017. Today's decision brings the total number of individuals targeted by the EU sanctions for the involvement in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population to 261.
EU's Threats Over Alleged Chemical Weapons Use
Most of the Western governments, namely the EU and the US, accuse Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of being responsible for the use of sarin gas in April 2017, a claim he has repeatedly denied, reiterating that Syria does not possess a chemical weapons arsenal, the full destruction of which is confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Despite the fact that none of the accusations has been proved by the solid evidence, French President Emmanuel Macron repeatedly threatened to strike Syria if it's proven that Damascus used chemical weapons against its civilians; while France's foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "all indications" have suggested that government forces used chlorine against rebel forces throughout the civil war, although he added that they "hadn't completely documented that."
Amid the voiced threats, the Syrian government forces continue its anti-terror fight in the region and have recently discovered chemical weapons' stock belonging to terrorists: a clandestine workshop, used by to produce chemical weapons; chlorine was also found at the site.