1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Japan bans Assad regime

November 27, 2012

Japan has expanded its sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Damascus has demanded that Japan call off a Tokyo meeting of powers backing Syria's opposition due next Friday.

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes up position to fire during clashes with the regime's forces in Aleppo's Al-Amiriya district November 26, 2012. Picture taken November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Zain Karam (SYRIA - Tags: CONFLICT)
Syrien Aleppo KämpfeImage: Reuters

The Japanese foreign ministry said from Tuesday a total of 59 Syrian individuals and 35 entities now faced a Japanese freeze on assets and financial transactions as well as visa curbs. Japan first imposed its sanctions in September last year.

Its move precedes a meeting this coming Friday in Tokyo of 150 senior officials of the so-called "Friends of Syria Group," which backs Syrian opposition initiatives.

The group's previous and fourth such meeting took place in the Netherlands in September and included more than 60 countries, including European nations, the United States and Arab states.

Assad's government demanded last week that Tokyo call off the meeting, but Japanese officials said it would go ahead, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Olive oil plant bombed

Activists within Syria said on Tuesday that a Syrian military jet had bombed an olive oil pressing plant near the northern city of Idlib, killing at least 20 people. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said its contacts had confirmed five deaths.

In Dasmascus the pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan has listed the names of 142 people it said were "jihadists" from 18 foreign countries who had been killed alongside rebels during the past 20 months.

Al-Watan's list included alleged Saudi, Chechen and Afghan foreign fighters.

Assad is increasingly relying on militiamen and members of his Alawite community to defend his regime as rebels advance in Syria's north and east, according to an analysis by the French news agency AFP.

Sunni Muslims who form 70 percent of Syria's population were joining the insurgency.

Analyst Aram Nerguizian of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies told AFP that Assad's military had made a "deliberate decision" to hold terrain in northern Syria where possible "but accept strategic defeat when necessary."

ipj/mz (AFP, Reuters, AP)