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IS oil buyer hit by EU sanctions

A middleman involved in deals between Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime and Islamic State (IS) terrorists has been hit by the latest round of European Union sanctions, Philip Hammond has revealed.

The EU has slapped travel bans on seven more people, and frozen both their assets and the assets of six more "entities" - usually banks, institutions or companies.

The Foreign Secretary said one of the people hit by the restrictions was buying oil from IS, which has control of a number of refineries, on behalf of the Assad administration.

He said the listing was an indication that Assad's assertions that his forces were fighting IS - also known as Isil - were a "sham" because his administration was helping to bankroll the extremist group.

Mr Hammond said: "The UK has worked tirelessly with other member states to secure 13 new EU sanctions listings on Syria.

"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 a middleman buying oil from Isil on behalf of the regime. This listing gives yet another indication that Assad's 'war' on Isil is a sham and that he supports them financially.

"These sanctions show that EU is united in its condemnation of Assad's brutal policies. We will continue applying pressure to the regime until it reassesses its position, ends the violence and engages in meaningful negotiations with the moderate opposition."

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