19 July 2017 – eaworldview – Scott Lucas – Syria’s Assad regime has denounced the latest European Union sanctions against its officials over involvement in chemical weapons programs.
On Monday, the EU added eight military officer and eight scientists to its blacklists, citing the ongoing regime programs despite a pledge to hand over all chemical stocks after August 2013 sarin attacks near Damascus.
Despite giving up most of its stocks, the regime has continued assaults with chlorine. On April 4, it resorted to “sarin or a sarin-like substance” for a second time, killing at least 92 people and wounding almost 600 in Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria.The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the sanctioned officers and scientists were “performing their duties to push forward the development process and counterterrorism efforts in Syria”. It insisted that the restrictions were part of a “hysterical campaign” with “unbelievable pretexts regarding the Khan Sheikhoun incident” — blamed on “terrorist groups”.
“Syria reaffirms that it does not have any form of chemical weapons,” said the Ministry, adding that the regime has never used them.
The EU imposed the new sanctions despite a softening stance by some of its members, notably France, towards Bashar al-Assad’s retention of power.