The European Union imposed sanctions on three Syrian oil firms on Friday, including state-owned Syria Trading Oil (Sytrol) and General Petroleum Corporation, as part of its effort to add financial pressure on the Damascus government over a crackdown on protests.
A GPC joint venture − Al Furat Petroleum Company − was also listed in the EU’s Official Journal, which legalized a decision by European Union foreign ministers on Thursday.
The sanctions list also includes media companies and firms the EU says supply sensitive equipment to a research centre that supports the suppression of dissent.
Meanwhile, France’s interior minister said on Friday that authorities are providing protection to Syrian opposition members based in the country after they came under threat.
The minister, Claude Gueant, would not provide details of the security measures or the nature of the threats, but he said the measures affect members of the Syrian National Council (SNC).
“A certain number of threats have appeared concerning Syrian citizens, notably opposition figures, living in our country. Of course measures have been taken to ensure the protection of these Syrian citizens,” Gueant said.
“We must protect all of those who are likely to be threatened,” he said, especially those “who are called upon to play a role in Syria’s democratic renewal,” he told journalists.
“We know that the Syrian state is violent and does not hesitate to resort to threats,” Gueant said.
The SNC’s leader, Burhan Ghaliun, is based in Paris along with many leading members of the Syrian opposition.
On Friday, mutinous soldiers have attacked a Syrian air force intelligence base in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing eight people, a rights group said on Friday.
And another two people were killed by random gunfire in the troubled central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received in Nicosia.
The Britain-based Observatory said “a group of deserters attacked an air force intelligence centre... killing eight people from the base.”
At least another 13 people were wounded in the three-hour gunbattle on Thursday between the rebels and intelligence agents at the base, located on a highway to the Mediterranean port city of Latakia.
The U.N. on Friday said that there is an urgent need for an “international accountability” for crime against humanity committed by Syrian forces, and that the Syrian death toll of 4,000 includes 307 children while more than 14,000 are detained.