UK Foreign Office accuses Syria of purchasing oil from IS
The United Kingdom Foreign Office issued statement on Mar.7 welcoming the expansion of the European Union's sanctions against Syria and accusing Syrian authorities of buying oil from the Islamic State terrorist group, RIA Novosti reported.
On Mar.6 the European Union added seven individuals and six entities to its Syrian sanctions list bringing the total number of persons targeted by the restrictive measures to 218 and the number of companies - to 69. George Haswani, a Syrian-Greek businessman who allegedly acted as an oil middleman between Syrian authorities and IS, was among the individuals blacklisted on Mar.6.
"We are targeting developers, proliferators and users of chemical weapons, along with businessmen and companies supporting the brutal shabiha militias. We have also agreed to target individuals supplying oil to the regime, including George Haswani, a middleman buying oil from IS on behalf of the regime. This listing gives yet another indication that Assad's 'war' on IS is a sham," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, as cited in a statement published on the official website of the British government.
In 2011, anti-government protests erupted in Syria, later escalating into a civil war with government forces fighting against numerous rebel groups, including the Islamic State extremists. In May 2011 the European Union started imposing trade restrictions and sanctions against Syria, accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of brutality against the civilians.
Islamic State currently controls vast territories in Syria. The group also seized several oil fields.