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EU Eases Oil Embargo To Help Rebels


European Union foreign ministers have agreed to ease an oil embargo against Syria to help rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The decision was taken at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg on April 22.

Under the deal, European importers will be allowed to buy oil from Syria, after consultation with the opposition Syrian National Coalition.

Russia said the EU move was "counterproductive."

The sanctions were first imposed in 2011 in response to Assad's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Two years later, an estimated 70,000 people have died in the conflict.

Also on April 22, the Syrian National Coalition said George Sabra will lead the group until elections are held next month to pick a new president following the resignation of Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

Khatib resigned saying he was feeling "powerless" in the face of the ongoing violence.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa