EU puts new Syria foreign minister on sanctions blacklist

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BRUSSELS – The European Union on Friday added recently appointed Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to its sanctions blacklist targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The move takes the number of officials and allies of the Syrian leader under EU asset freezes and travel bans to 289, with 70 entities also facing punitive measures. Brussels began slapping sanctions on the Syrian authorities in 2011 over the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

The war that has torn apart the country has now killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions. Mekdad replaced Assad stalwart Walid Muallem after the veteran top diplomat died in November. Mekdad, started a career at the Syrian foreign ministry in 1994, and had served as deputy foreign minister since 2006.

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