The EU has agreed on a weapons embargo against Syria as the country's leadership conducts a crackdown on anti-government protests. A freeze on assets and visa bans will also be applied to a number of individuals.
Syria's government is accused of brutal internal repression
European Union member states are to impose an arms embargo on Syria as well as an assets' freeze and visa ban on 13 of its nationals associated with a military crackdown against anti-government protests.
While President Bashar al-Assad is not included in the bloc's sanctions list published Tuesday, his brother Maher as well as intelligence chiefs are named.
The ban, officially agreed on Monday by the Council of the European Union, applies to exports of all arms and equipment "that could be used for internal repression."
The freezing of assets will target "officials and associates of the Syrian regime who have been identified by the Council as being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria," a statement released on Monday read.
Debate over tougher stance
Tanks have moved in on several cities across the country
Members states were unable to reach agreement about including President Assad in the sanctions. However, ambassadors from the member 27 states who had discussed the matter in talks last Friday have agreed to look at additional measures that might include "the highest level of the Syrian leadership."
Cyprus, Greece and Portugal are believed to be reticent about targeting Assad, while Britain, France and Germany favor sending a clear message to Damascus.
Human rights groups claim that more than 600 people have been killed and 8,000 either missing or imprisoned during the eight-week crackdown on protesters.
On Monday, forces acting for the ruling Baath party tightened their grip on the third city Homs after moving into the city with tanks on Sunday.
Security forces also rounded up thousands of men in an effort to crush the protest movement in the coastal city of Banias.
Authors: Sabina Casagrande, Richard Connor (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Chuck Penfold