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Swiss ramp up Syria sanctions

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16:02 CEST+02:00

Switzerland announced on Friday a toughening of sanctions against Syria, hitting the country's finance, oil and precious metal sectors.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said it would ramp up the pressure on Bashar al-Assad's regime with a widening of trade restrictions, including an export ban on products destined for the oil and gas industry.

The ban extends to equipment used in the construction of power plants and telephone and internet surveillance, SECO said.

The supply and purchase of precious metals and diamonds is also banned and Syrian air company cargo flights will not be allowed to land in Switzerland.

In the banking sector, assets belonging to Syria's central bank in Switzerland will be frozen.

Trade in new bonds issued by Syria is also banned and Swiss financial institutions will not be permitted to do new business with Syrian banks.

Switzerland introduced sanctions against Syria in May last year following Damascus' brutal crackdown on protesters.

Bern has already imposed an embargo on military goods and oil, and travel bans on 128 individuals and 42 businesses linked to the Assad regime.

Assets worth more than 70 million francs have been frozen.

The latest sanctions are in line with those imposed by the European Union and will come into force on Saturday.

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