BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – The European Union (EU) sanctioned 16 Syrian nationals, including some military officials, for the chemical weapons attack on the Idlib Governorate town of Khan Sheikhoun in early April.
Among the 16 Syrians sanctioned by the E.U. was the popular Syrian military commander Major General Issam Zahreddine of the 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard.
General Zahreddine was accused by the E.U. of carrying out the siege of Bab ‘Amr in 2012 and repressing protesters during the demonstrations in 2011.
“Holds (Zahreddine) the rank of Brigadier General, a senior officer in the Republican Guard, in post after May 2011. As a senior military officer he is responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population, including during the siege of Baba Amr in February 2012,” the E.U. stated in their reasons for sanctions.
Despite commanding the Syrian Armed Forces in the Deir Ezzor campaign, the E.U. accused General Zahreddine of playing a role in the chemical weapons attack that was blamed on the government.
A high-ranking Syrian Army officer told Al-Masdar News on Thursday that the E.U. claims were ‘absurd’ and lacking merit; especially in regards to General Zahreddine.
The officer stated “how can a man fighting Da’esh (ISIL) in eastern Syria for the last three years be involved in such an attack?”