Arab League places sanctions against 17 Syrian officials and includes a ban on flights

The Arab League has officially released its list of sanctions against Syria, which include a ban on flights to and from the country. (File photo)

The Arab League imposed sanctions against a list of 17 Syrian officials, including the interior and the defense ministers and other officials from the Syrian president’s close circle and relatives.

The listed 17 people are banned from travel to Arab states, including President Bashar al-Assad’s brother

The president’s brother, Maher al-Assad, who was listed, commands the Republican Guard and is Syria’s second most powerful man. Assad’s cousin and Syria’s richest businessman was also on the list.

The names and other recommendations will be presented to group of Arab ministers, led by Qatar, who have been handling the Syria file. The ministers meet in Doha on Saturday.

Ban on flights

The League has also made it clear that it will impose a ban on flights entering and leaving Syria, which will come into effect in mid-December.

The League’s list of economic measures against Syria was officially released on Thursday, and it will include a ban on flights. Turkey, which imposed its own sanctions on Syria on Wednesday, explicitly said its measures did not include a flight ban.

But the ban on flights will exempt wheat and related food items, medicine, gas and electricity from the embargo, Egypt’s news agency reported.

Despite the League’s imposing a set of “unprecedented sanctions” against the regime, it might not isolate the Syrian regime into submission.

Iraq, which has important bilateral trade relations with Syria, did not proceed with the punitive measures against Syria.

And the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday said that it has no plans to suspend flights to Syria, after the government of Dubai’s press office earlier said airlines were preparing a halt in line with the League sanctions.

Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, chairman of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority and also the economy minister, said the UAE was committed to the3 resolutions on Syria.

“(The minister) affirmed that as matters stand, the UAE airlines have no intention of suspending flights to Syria,” said a statement from the Dubai press office.

As for Lebanon, it has no major trades with Syria, and said that it will enforce the League sanctions even though it did not back the punitive measures.

On Sunday, Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo to vote on a list of sanctions against Syria designed to contain Assad’s regime and curb its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Syria said the League has declared “economic war” with sanctions imposed on its central bank after Damascus ignored demands to end its nine-month crackdown on protests.

Meanwhile, on Thursday about 12 people were killed in Syria by the security forces, including nine in Hama, the Syrian Revolution Council said.

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