The EU has published Council Regulation (EU) 168/2012, which amends Regulation (EU) 36/2012 in respect of sanctions against Syria. Regulation 168/2012 prohibits various transactions in respect of gold, precious metals and diamonds, with a full list of the relevant goods being set out in Annex III to the Regulation. It is also prohibited to provide technical or financial assistance or brokering services in respect of such goods to the Government of Syria, its public bodies, corporations and agencies, the Central Bank of Syria and any person, entity or body acting on their behalf or at their direction, or owned or controlled by them.

Regulation 168/2012 also adds further parties to the asset freeze list contained in Annex II to Regulation 36/2012. A key entity to be added to the list is the Central Bank of Syria. This means that the Central Bank of Syria is subject to the prohibitions set out in Article 14 of Regulation 36/2012, save in respect of certain transactions which are specified in Article 2 of Regulation 168/2012.

This latest Regulation exemplifies the EU’s desire to put continued pressure on the Syrian government, and it is likely that the sanctions regime will be extended yet further in the relatively near future.