Swiss add more Syrians to travel ban list

Switzerland on Monday added 34 top Syrian military and interior ministry officials as well as pro-regime organisations to a travel ban list, as the United States closed its embassy in Damascus.

The Swiss list now has 108 names on it, a statement said, adding that the expanded travel ban would now extend to Finance Minister Mohammad Al-Jleilati and Economy Minister Nidal Mohammad Al-Shaar.

The other officials targeted on Monday include chief of staff, Fahid Al-Jassim, for his involvement in violence in the flashpoint city of Homs and his deputy Ibrahim Al Hassan.

Switzerland also added 19 company names to the list bringing to 38 the total number of enterprises sanctioned.

They include television channel Press TV Cham, which “participates in campaigns of disinformation and incitement to violence against demonstrators” in Syria, the Al Watan newspaper, and several banks and oil firms.

Activists say more than 6,000 have been killed since the start of the anti-regime uprising on March 15th, 2011.

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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.