Switzerland widens sanctions against Syrian regime

Switzerland widened sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime on Wednesday, adding 12 individuals to a list of key players under financial embargo and travel restriction.

"These restrictive measures have been decreed due to the violent repression that the army and the Syrian security forces have enforced for two months to snuff out peaceful demonstrations by the population," the Economy Ministry said.

Bern had already blocked assets worth 27 million francs ($31.7 million, 21.9 million euros) belonging to Assad and 22 other individuals.

On Wednesday it added several others, including the president's cousin and head of presidential security, Zulhima Shalish, and former Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmud.

Four companies or entities that finance the regime have also been placed under sanctions.

Rights groups say the regime's crackdown has killed 1,827 civilians since mid-March, while 416 security forces have also died.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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