Allies use power of purse against Syrian regime

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SCHEVENINGEN, Netherlands — A coalition including the United States, the European Union and the Arab League met today to plot new ways of isolating the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

The group called Friends of the Syrian People was set up in February after the U.N. Security Council was unable to reach agreement on a resolution condemning Syria’s government, due to opposition from Russia and China.

Financial experts joined representatives of the group today at their meeting in a coastal suburb of The Hague, Netherlands, to help member countries understand how Syria may be relying on dual-use technologies and front companies to get around the existing sanctions, which include an embargo on oil and arms.

Twelve more countries have joined the 60-member coalition, committing also to block Syrian financial transactions and to enforce a travel ban on the country’s top leaders.

Abrahim Miro — a member of the Syrian Governing Council, an umbrella organization of Syrian opposition groups cooperating to overthrow the government — said the sanctions alone will not bring Assad’s regime down. He said he hopes increased sanctions and the armed resistance by the Syrian Free Army “will actually cause the economic heart attack and also the military heart attack of the regime.”

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