EU slaps travel ban on Assad's wife

2012-03-23 14:03

Brussels - The European Union (EU) agreed to sanction President Bashar Assad's British-born wife Asma, along with his mother, sister and sister-in-law as the bloc tightened the noose on the Syrian regime on  Friday.

Diplomats said European Union foreign ministers gathered in Brussels had agreed an assets freeze and travel ban on "Assad's wife, mother, sister and sister-in-law", and 8 other members of his entourage.

Joining the talks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said "it's important that we tighten the diplomatic and economic stranglehold" on the Syrian regime.

Pile on pressure

"Their behaviour continues to be murdering and totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world," Hague said.

The EU must pile on the pressure "with sanctions which I hope will cover not only members of the regime but people associated closely with the regime", he added.

The names of the 12 individuals and two firms targeted will be published in the EU Official Journal on Saturday, when the sanctions take effect.

"Everybody has to know, the regime, the entourage of the regime, the clan of the regime, that we are being serious," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. "The clan of the regime of Assad has to be included."

The Syrian first lady, a Western-educated former banker and style icon, is a British national, however, and in London officials said an EU travel ban could not prevent her from entering Britain.

"British citizens subject to EU travel bans cannot be refused entry to the UK," said a UK Border Agency spokesperson.

But the ban would stop her from travelling to the other 26 EU nations, an EU diplomat said.

It was widely believed Asma Assad's grounding in Western values would help give the regime a more human face and shatter the isolation of the secretive Assad family.

Sharp criticism

But in the last weeks the first lady dubbed a "rose in the desert" by Vogue became the focus of sharp criticism after Britain's Guardian newspaper released e-mails showing the ruling couple shopping for luxury goods as the country slid into bloody chaos.

The glamorous mother of three, pictured in designer outfits and Christian Louboutin shoes, has often been compared to the likes of Queen Rania of Jordan or France's Carla Bruni, with a reported fondness for Chanel in particular.

Tall, stylish and charismatic, her impeccable British accent and credentials long helped promote the soft side of an iron-fisted regime.

Not first time

The latest sanctions are the 13th round against the Assad regime, including oil and arms embargoes in response to a crackdown that has left more than 9 000 people dead in a revolt that began as peaceful protests.

Assad himself was targeted by EU restrictive measures as far back as May.

Threatening further sanctions in coming days, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the measures aimed to send "a very powerful signal to everyone in the regime that the killing has to stop, the violence has to stop, there has to be dialogue, there has to be a political process."

"That is the only way to prevent the country from descending into sectarian civil war that would have devastating consequences."

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  asma assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.