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January 25, 2022

EU slaps new sanctions on Syria

European Union foreign ministers agreed Monday to impose fresh sanctions on Syria as a U.N.-backed peace plan – along with all other diplomatic efforts – has yet to stop the carnage that mounts every day, CNN informs.The EU ministers agreed to an assets freeze and visa ban on two firms and three people believed to provide funding for the regime, according to the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “The continuing violence is appalling,” Ashton said Monday.Inside Syria, regime forces suffered heavy casualties Monday during clashes at Rastan, a city that has been pummeled by government forces, opposition activists said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it received “preliminary information that three armored personnel carriers were destroyed and that at least 23 soldiers were killed.” At least 30 people – including 23 soldiers – have died in heavy overnight clashes in the central Syrian city of Rastan, according to activists quoted by BBC. CNN further reports that medical supplies were running low after more than 60 people were reportedly injured from a barrage of roughly 255 mortar shells that rained on Rastan.Elsewhere in Syria, at least four people were killed Monday, including a child struck by random gunfire from the regime’s army in Deir Ezzor, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network.The LCC also posted dire reports of the military aiming mortars and heavy artillery at the Homs village of Al-Burnhanieh.Violence from the Syian conflict isn’t confined to the country’s borders. In neighboring Lebanon, at least one person was killed and 45 others wounded in ongoing violence, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported Monday. The fighting in Lebanon pits residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh, a Sunni stronghold hostile to the Syrian regime, against Alawite residents of Jabal Mohsen, who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Clashes that began Sunday in Lebanon ignited over the arrest of Islamist activist Chadi Mawlawi, who the Lebanese government accuses of being an operative in Al-Qaeda-inspired group. But his relatives deny the accusation. Ali Hajar, one of Mawlawi’s cousins, said Mawlawi supports the Syrian rebels and is trying to help Syrian refugees by providing them with shelter and food. Hajar said his cousin was not affiliated with any terrorist group. A team of U.N. monitors is on the ground to observe the progress of a so-called cease-fire and encourage the implementation of the peace plan.

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