The current EU sanctions seem to have little or no effect in deterring Al-Assad from continuing his violent crack-down on innocent Syrians. Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader, says the time has come to step up the pressure and hit the regime where it will really hurt by extending the sanctions lists to cover business leaders in Syria who fund the regime
Verhofstadt stated "The violence inSyria is continuing and the death toll is rising steadily, it is time to face up to the fact that the sanctions introduced so far are not working. More comprehensive sanctions must now be introduced, hitting the regime where it really hurts - their pocket. Syria's most powerful economic figures who fund this regime must also be targeted in the EU sanctions lists, this will increase the pressure on those that support Al-Assad financially and send a message that their support will be very costly indeed. This needs to be put on the agenda of the next week's Foreign Affairs Council meeting as a matter of urgency."
The killing, torture, and rape of Syrians by the armed and security forces loyal to Al-Assad have forced thousands of Syrians to flee their homes. Marietje Schaake, (D66,Netherlands)commends the efforts by Turkey in sheltering the refugees and says the EU should also contribute by supporting the UNHCR mission in Turkey in taking care of the growing number of refugees, including deserting soldiers.
"Besides imposing sanctions, the EU should actively work with Turkey to end the violence and repression by the Assad regime", said Schaake."The UNHCR is the only institution dealing with refugees in Turkey, due to that country's restrictive policy ('geographical limitations') on taking in refugees.
The capacity of the UN refugee body though is under great pressure while capacity for a rapid response is urgently needed. Food and water shortages and a real humanitarian crisis are looming. We need to explore all options for providing a safe haven for Syrian refugees, including the possibility of an internationally protected safe zone. The international community must act together to end the assault on civilians by the Syrian authorities."