The United Kingdom has introduced sanctions against six officials close to President Bashar al-Assad. The punitive measures target Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad, Assad adviser Luna al-Shibl, financier Yassar Ibrahim, businessman Muhammad Bara’ Al-Qatirji, Republican Guard commander Malik Aliaa, and Army Major Zaid Salah.
"The Assad regime has subjected the Syrian people to a decade of brutality for the temerity of demanding peaceful reform", Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said when announcing the sanctions.
The punitive measures will include travel bans and asset freezes against the designated members, the Foreign Office said in a press release.
This marks the first time the United Kingdom has punished Syria with sanctions since its withdrawal from the European Union.
The sanctions come as London’s Metropolitan Police Service has launched a preliminary investigation into alleged “encouragement of terrorist acts” by President Assad's wife Asma.
10 Years of Syrian Conflict
The announcement also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the beginning of a protracted bloody civil war in the Middle Eastern nation.
What started as an uprising on 15 March 2011 quickly escalated into a major conflict between the state and opposition groups, including the notorious Daesh* terrorists.
The civil war also drew in international actors. In 2015, Damascus requested Moscow's assistance in countering armed opposition forces, including terrorist organisations, that had captured large swathes of Syrian territory.
Russia, Turkey, and Iran are currently the ceasefire guarantors in war-torn Syria. Russia regularly carries out humanitarian operations across the country and helps Damascus in providing safe passage for the return of Syrian refugees.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/“Islamic State”) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other nations