EU tightens sanctions on Syrian arms industry

BRUSSELS - European Union governments tightened sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday over his government's violence against rebels, agreeing new restrictions against the country' arms industry and other measures.
The new round of measures, the EU's 19th against Damascus, complement an embargo on arms sales to Syria imposed last year and come at a time when Assad is showing no sign of easing his violent response to a popular rebellion against his rule.
The prohibitions include a ban on importing Syrian weapons to Europe, transporting them anywhere or supplying any financial services such as insurance to fund purchases of Syrian arms.
"No EU citizens or companies must be involved in Syrian military cooperation with third countries, which could benefit the Syrian regime," EU foreign ministers said in a statement after a meeting to discuss policy issues in Luxembourg.
The EU also denied Syrian airlines access to its airports, bolstering a ban on cargo flights to Europe.
Twenty eight Syrians were added to a list of those targeted by EU asset freezes and travel bans, bringing the total number of people facing such sanctions to 181.