Switzerland adds Syrians to travel ban list

Switzerland added 18 senior Syrian military and interior ministry officials to a travel ban list Friday, as activists said security forces killed at least 14 anti-regime protesters.

The Swiss list now has 74 names on it, a statement said, while adding Syria’s Commercial Bank to a separate list, now 19 long, of sanctioned firms.

In September, Switzerland tightened its sanctions against Syria, halting new investments in the oil sector and stopping the delivery of new coins and notes to its central bank.

It has also placed an embargo on exports to Syria of military equipment the government may use in the suppressing its citizens.

Syrian assets frozen in Switzerland are worth about 45 million francs ($49 million).

Activists said at least 14 people, four of them children, were killed as Syrian security forces opened fire in several cities on Friday — most of them in the restive region of Homs.

A crackdown on protests in Syria by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has killed more than 4,000 people since mid-March, according to UN figures.

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Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State

A 31-year-old woman from Winterthur who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) is standing trial under Swiss anti-terror laws.

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Swiss Confederation/OFCL

The alleged ‘jihadi tourist' appeared before Switzerland's federal criminal court in Bellinzona on Friday, the Swiss news agency SDA reported. 

In December 2015, the woman, accompanied by her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join IS, the authorities allege. 

Her intended destination was Raqqa, which was at the time an IS stronghold in Syria.

The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and was arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016. 

The Swiss attorney general's office filed an indictment against the Swiss national for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis. 

According to the indictment, the woman radicalized herself through internet propaganda after converting to Islam in 2009.

It says the Swiss national believed it was the duty of all Muslims to support IS.

She said she rejected western values.

This is only the second case concerning a so-called ‘jihadi tourist' to go before Switzerland's federal criminal court. 

The first prosecution of its kind took place in 2016, when a 26-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to travel to join Isis and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Islamic State has been banned in Switzerland since 2014.