PARIS (AP) — France’s government is imposing new sanctions on people and companies suspected of helping Syria’s chemical weapons program.
The Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry announced Friday a freeze on assets of three individuals and nine companies involved in research or purchasing for the Syrian Scientific Research Center. The Syrian lab is accused of producing chemical weapons for President Bashar Assad’s government.
France says companies from multiple countries have been furnishing materials for the manufacture of chemical weapons, including sarin gas.
France is hosting leading diplomats Friday from 32 countries for a meeting of a new body aimed at better identifying and punishing those who use chemical weapons.
France, the U.S. and Britain bombed Syrian government sites last month in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.
Assad’s forces have denied accusations they repeatedly used chemical weapons in Syria’s 7-year-old civil war. Rebels also have been accused of using poison gas.
In the latest report of poison gas being unleashed, the international chemical weapons watchdog said Wednesday that chlorine was likely used as a weapon in the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Saraqeb in early February. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released details of a report into the chlorine use, but did not say which side in the fighting used it. The OPCW is not mandated to apportion blame for the attack.
The group meeting in Paris on Friday plans to publish information about chemical attacks to name and shame perpetrators and eventually sanction them.