Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem

Syria condemns EU sanctions

Syria yesterday condemned EU sanctions which targeted President Bashar al-Assad and top members of the government and security services yesterday, SANA reported.

An unnamed government source said: “The EU conclusions, like those of the US, clearly aim at flagrant interference in Syria’s internal affairs and an attempt to destabilise it and control its people’s decisions and capabilities at present and in the future.”

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the sanctions were a “black page” in European history, in an interview with Syrian TV.

Moallem added that the measures harm EU and Syrian interests and benefit Israel.

The new sanctions follow the lead of the US, which imposed similar measures on Syria last week.

But the EU is more closely linked economically to Syria than the US, following its inclusion in the Barcelona Process.

The move could hurt bilateral ties with EU countries, as well as postpone the signing of an Association Agreement which was finalised, but never signed, in 2004.

Aleppo protests

Students organised by the National Students Union signed a petition condemning media reports of protests in Syria’s second city they say are false, SANA reported.

Mohammed Zaazou, head of the Aleppo branch of the student union, told the news agency 10,000 students had signed the petition.

A number of anti-government demonstrations have been reported in foreign news media over the past two weeks, which have gone largely unreported by the local press.

Mufti says crisis a war on Syrian culture

Syria’s Grand Mufti, Ahmed Hassoun, said in a meeting with business, civic and religious leaders on Monday that a conspiracy is targeting Syria’s culture, SANA reported.

The meeting was an event launching a charity to “help families of martyrs and damaged people in the latest events”, Hassoun said.

The office of Grand Mufti, dating back to the Ottoman Caliphate, was assumed by Hassoun after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro in 2004.

Syria Today (Syria)