EU Global Strategy

SYRIA: New minister of Foreign Affairs added to the sanction list

Brussels, 16/01/2021 - 12:05, UNIQUE ID: 210116_1
Press releases

Today the Council of the European Union decided to impose targeted restrictive measures on Faysal Meqdad, who was recently appointed minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria.

Ten years ago the Syrian people’s peaceful demands for freedom, bread and social justice have been faced with a violent and cruel repression. Those demands are still not met but rather continue to be ignored or quelled.

As a response to those crimes, the EU introduced in 2011 sanctions targeted at those responsible for participating or enabling the Syrian regime’s violent repression against the civilian population and those who benefit from it.

Faysal Meqdad is listed because he is a member of the regime responsible for that violent repression. The listing of members of the regime is intended to bring about a change in behaviour: a stop to the repression of the Syrian people, as well as cooperation with the UN-sponsored political process intended to bring about a resolution to the Syrian conflict to the benefit of all Syrians.

Any person and entity can be removed from the sanctions list if they prove they changed their behaviour and the conditions for their listing are no longer met. Recently, two persons and one entity have been delisted when they halted their sanctionable behaviour.

EU sanctions are not directed at the Syrian population as it is wrongly claimed by the regime and its supporters. On the contrary, they are built to minimise the negative impact on the population. At any point since 2011, Syrians were able to buy medicines and other goods produced in Europe precisely because they are not subject to sanctions. The EU is the largest humanitarian donor to the Syrian crisis and it has never prevented the Syrian population from receiving humanitarian aid.

Faysal Meqdad joins a list of 288 people and 70 entities, targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. Most Syrians know who they are and what they did.

The listed persons and entities are mainly those who share responsibility for the Syrian regime's violent repression against the civilian population by:

  • providing support to the Syrian regime and the Syrian army;
  • benefitting from the Syrian regime;
  • assisting in the production, development of chemical weapons for the Syrian regime;
  • organising and carrying out chemical weapons attacks;
  • being senior officers of the Syrian Armed Forces and the Syrian security and intelligence services or members of Syrian regime-affiliated militias.

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, the EU and its Member States have been the largest donors of humanitarian aid to Syria and the region, with a total EU assistance of over €20 billion in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance.

The EU will continue to play its part fully and to mobilise all political and humanitarian tools at its disposal, remaining the main donor for Syrians.

The EU remains committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.


  • OJEU
  • Council decision
  • Factsheet on EU sanctions
  • Guidance Note
  • Q&A: EU sanctions are not impeding the COVID-19 response
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