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Canada Imposes New Sanctions on Syria

Canada tightens its sanctions on Syria, bans export of software for telephone and internet monitoring.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/26/2011, 2:15 AM

Canada has decided to impose new sanctions on Syria, including a ban on the export of software for the monitoring of telephone and internet communications, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced on Friday.

“Canada will continue to put the squeeze on the Assad regime,” Baird was quoted by the CBC as having said about President Bashar Assad. “We will not sit idly by — not while Assad and his thugs continue to violate the rights of the Syrian people.”

Baird added that all imports from Syria with the exception of food will be barred. In addition, he said, all new investment in Syria is banned, and the export of equipment, including software for the monitoring of telephone and internet communications, will be blocked.

He said Canada will also freeze assets and prohibit economic dealings with additional individuals and entities associated with the Assad regime.

“The vise is tightening on Assad,” Baird was quoted as saying, and he added, “Assad will fall. The government will fall. It's only a matter of time.”

CBC noted that over the past several months, Canada has imposed bans on the import of Syrian oil and petroleum products, and barred any financing of that country’s oil sector. Canada has also placed travel restrictions, an asset freeze and a prohibition on dealings with members of the Syrian regime.

Baird announced the new sanctions on the same day that two suicide car bombs killed 44 people in Damascus.

Syrian officials subsequently blamed al-Qaeda terrorists for the bombings, saying al-Qaeda is linked to dissident Syrian Forces leaders who support the Turkish-backed insurgency against Assad’s government.

The Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror group, however, blamed the United States for the twin car bombings, saying Washington was the "mother of terrorism."

“These bombings which resulted in the death and injury of dozens of people, mostly women and children, are the specialty of the United States, the mother of terrorism,” Hizbullah said in a statement.

Meanwhile, residents in the Syrian city of Homs called for western intervention on Saturday after activists said the area has come under renewed attack from forces loyal to Assad.

Al Jazeera cited residents who told the network on Saturday that army tanks were shelling the city. Activists in the Bab Amr district said they had been under siege for the last 48 hours.