Widespread protests against twin bombings
Brussels The European Union is expected to agree to new sanctions on Syria, slapping an assets freeze and visa ban on two firms and three people, EU diplomats said Friday.
They said the measures targeting mainly sources of revenue for the regime would be decided at talks between EU foreign ministers next Monday, with Syria still engulfed in deadly violence after a bloody crackdown on opposition protesters was launched 14 months ago.
There was an agreement in principle between ambassadors of the 27-nation bloc on a 15th round of sanctions against the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, they said.
A senior diplomat who asked not to be identified said however that there "is some debate as to whether sanctions send a wrong signal" as UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan seeks to remain even-handed to maintain all-round support for his peace plan.
Tens of thousands of protesters defied Syrian regime gunfire and took to the streets yesterday, as state TV said the army foiled a would-be suicide attack a day after twin bombings in Damascus left scores dead.
Eleven people were killed across the country, in areas including central Hama and southern Daraa, where an 11-year-old child died from sniper fire, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Troops shot and wounded five protesters in the capital and 20 in the central town of Helfaya, where two civilians also died, while another demonstrator was killed in the northern city of Aleppo, the Britain-based Observatory said.
Aleppo-based activist Mohammad Al Halabi said the protester died from his wounds after regime forces opened fire in the Salah Al Deen neighbourhood.
Halabi said "thousands of people are protesting in spite of gunfire. They are condemning the criminality of yesterday's bombing."