Diplomat: EU planning new sanctions on Syria's Assad

BRUSSELS - European Union governments plan to adopt a wide range of financial sanctions against Syria next week, targeting Syrian President Bashar Assad's ability to access cash through the banking sector, an EU diplomat said on Wednesday.
The new measures are expected to include a ban on European investment in Syrian banks, trading in Syrian government bonds and on provision of insurance to state bodies.
They are also expected to ban new loans to the government, bilaterally or through international financial institutions, prohibit trading of gold or other precious metals and bar sales of computer software used to monitor the Internet or telephone communications.
The measures are also expected to prohibit Syrian banks from opening new branches in EU states, the diplomat said.