France wants tougher Syria sanctions as Friday protests continue


France wants to extend European sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to “economic entities”, as security forces fire on Friday demonstrators killing six, according to opposition sources.


European Union officials are to drawing up a new list of sanctions targets which may be adopted at a heads of state meeting in a week’s time.

French officials on Friday said that not only could about a dozen more individuals be added to it but also companies and banks which finance them.

One of the 13 individuals already subject to sanctions, Assad’s cousin Rami Moukhlouf on Friday announced that he will devote his time to humanitarian work and hand over a part of his personal fortune to charity.

The opposition accuses Mokhlouf, who owns 40 per cent of mobile phone operator Syriatel, of profiting financially from his relationship to the president.

Demonstrations followed Friday prayers in a number of towns, with the opposition reporting that security forces fired on the protests, wounding an unknown number of people. Unusually, state news agency Sana reported rallies in Damascus, Hama and Deir el-Zorn in the east, with three police officers wounded by “armed men”.

Rights group reported six dead mid-afternoon Friday and the following protests:

Security forces fire on two protests in Banias, in the west, with an unspecified number of victims;
Security forces fire on about 5,000 people in Homs, klling two and wounding several;
About 2,500 marching in Tabqa, near Raqqa, in the north;
Other demonstrations in Deraa, in the south, and Jableh, in the west;*
Army raids in Choughour al-Kadima and Janudiyeh, in the north-west, with Khan Cheikhoun under siege.

Nearly 10,000 refugees had arrived in Turkey by Friday. American film star Angelina Jolie was expected to visit refugee camps near the frontier during the day.

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