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EU Foreign Ministers Agree On Need For New Sanctions On Syria

Syrian refugees wait to receive aid and rations at the Zaatri refugee camp in the city of Mafraq, Jordan, on September 5.
Syrian refugees wait to receive aid and rations at the Zaatri refugee camp in the city of Mafraq, Jordan, on September 5.
European Union foreign ministers have agreed on the need to strengthen sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The 27 EU foreign ministers, meeting in Paphos on the island of Cyprus, asked foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton to prepare the new round of measures by October.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoullis, who is hosting the two-day talks, now in their final day, said the bloc also agreed on the need to increase humanitarian aid to victims of the violence in Syria.

The conflict in Syria has claimed a total of more than 26,000 lives since it erupted in mid-March 2011, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Civilians account for most of those killed.

Meanwhile, activists say that fighting in Aleppo has damaged a water pipe that supplies drinking water to parts of the city.

The report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the pipe was hit during clashes between rebels and troops on September 8 in the Midan neighborhood.

Rebels have sought to seize the Hanano army base, which is a depot for weapons in the city.

Government forces using artillery and airpower say they succeeded in pushing the rebels back in a 20-hour battle that began on September 7.

Rebel fighters on September 7 claimed to have captured some of the barracks on the base.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa

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