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Damascus Says U.S., EU Sanctions Hurting Population

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem
Damascus says that foreign sanctions on Syria are hurting the population.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem called on the UN on December 15 to "intervene to ensure [U.S. and EU sanctions] are lifted."

He made the remark in Damascus during a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who is on a one-day visit to Syria.

The United States and the EU have imposed a wave of sanctions to punish President Bashar al-Assad's regime for its crackdown against protesters calling for democratic reforms.

The protests have evolved into a civil war that is estimated to have left more than 40,000 dead.

The current sanctions include a freeze on the assets of Assad and other Syrian government leaders, along with an embargo on the oil and arms trades.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters