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West, Arabs persist in penalizing Syria

(Xinhua)

15:35, December 02, 2011

DAMASCUS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Syria seems to be in a tight squeeze as the Western and Arab countries are turning the screws on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by carrying on with sanctions.

The sanctions have been upped on Syria over the past week in an effort to further suffocate its already-stagnating economy, which would rebound on the livelihood of the Syrians and push them to take tougher positions against the regime.

The European Union member states and the United States have worked on the economic sanctions on Syria since the very beginning of the events in Syria, and the Arab countries have recently followed the lead.

European foreign ministers, currently meeting in Brussels, are considering new extensive sanctions that would target 12 people and 11 companies, in addition to its previous sanctions that hit Syria's oil sector, a number of governmental entities, prominent figures and businessmen.

In a retaliatory move, Syria announced Thursday its boycott to the Union for the Mediterranean, a regional alliance consisting of the 27 EU member states and 16 neighbor countries, "until Europe abrogates its sanctions," according to a foreign ministry statement. "The EU has undertaken a series of unwarranted sanctions that targeted the livelihood of the Syrian people," said the statement, adding that the sanctions entail a flagrant violation of Syria's national sovereignty and interfere in the country's internal affairs, contrary to the essence of the signed agreements between the EU and Syria.

The latest EU move coincided with a new United Nations report that put the number of people killed in Syria over the past eight months at "much more" than 4,000.

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