Syrian oil exports paralyzed as sanctions bite

LONDON - Syria's oil exports have come to a standstill due to sanctions and this may force a cut in production, weakening President Bashar Assad's ability to generate cash but not threatening his grip on power yet, traders and analysts say.
After a series of piecemeal measures, European governments have acted vigorously in recent weeks to tighten the screws on Assad in hopes of reining in his bloody crackdown on protesters, which has killed some 2,700 people in six months, the UN says.From Saturday, the EU will ban European firms from making new investments in Syria's oil industry following an earlier ban on imports of Syrian oil, a key source of revenues for Assad's government.
Syria has said it can sidestep sanctions by selling oil to Russia or China . But traders said on Thursday most Syrian attempts to sell oil or related products in recent weeks have failed due to a lack of bids.
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