The European Union announced Saturday that it is banning purchases of Syrian oil, a first for Europe, which had thus far avoided targeting Syrian industry as a method to stem the government violence there.

Analysts have said that the ban, which is expected to affect about 95 percent of Syrian exports and 25 percent of the government’s revenue, may have only a limited impact on President Bashar al-Assad’s access to funds, and that an investment ban may have been more effective.

But the EU said that if the ban proves ineffective in stemming the violent government crackdown on protesters, sanctions could be intensified. –BF


While most of Syria’s oil exports have gone to Europe, the EU sanctions agreed on Saturday do not go as far as an investment ban imposed by the United States last month, and analysts say they may have only a limited impact on Assad’s access to funds.

EU governments are expected to have talks on further sanctions, but industry experts have said the 27-member bloc will have to overcome reluctance among some capitals, given that European firms like the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell … and France’s Total are significant investors in Syria.

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