Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
Photo Credit: PC / Sean Kilpatrick

Canada targets Syrian leadership with links to chemical weapons

A week after Ottawa announced sanctions against 27 high-ranking officials in the Assad regime, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expanded the sanctions today by listing additional individuals and entities.

The amended list under Canada’s Special Economic Measures (Syria) Regulations now includes 17 high-ranking individuals in the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and five entities linked to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Adding the new names to the sanctions list is part of additional international pressure on the Assad regime to immediately stop the “repeated and heinous attacks against its own people,” the government said.

“Canada is working with its allies to put an end to the war in Syria and to hold those responsible to account,” Freeland said in a statement. “Today’s announcement of additional sanctions against key officials in the Syrian regime sends a strong, unified message to the Assad regime that their war crimes will not be tolerated and that they will be held accountable for their actions.”

The government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rallied the international community to push for greater accountability and protection for civilians in Syria. In December 2016, Canada spearheaded a UN General Assembly resolution calling on member states to take urgent action to alleviate the “horrific humanitarian situation” unfolding in Syria, which garnered the support of 122 countries.

Canada is also a leading contributor to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons–United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, which investigates the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Canada announced its first sanctions against the Assad regime in May 2011 under the Special Economic Measures (Syria) Regulations.

Between May 2011 and November 2012, Ottawa gradually ramped up its sanctions against the Assad regime with ever expanding list of banned activities that now prohibit virtually any trade with Syria.

In addition to the restrictions on dealings with designated persons, the Regulations prohibit:
  • The import of goods, excluding food for human consumption, from Syria;
  • The provision or acquisition of financial services to, from or for the for the benefit of or on the direction or order of Syria or any person in Syria;
  • New investments in Syria;
  • The export to Syria of goods, including technical data, used for monitoring telecommunications;
  • The export of luxury goods to Syria;
  • The exports of goods listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, including any technical data related to such goods.
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Posted in International, Politics

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