Middle East

EU slaps sanctions on Assad's wife, relatives

February 26, 2012: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma vote during a referendum on a new constitution at a polling station in a Syrian TV station building in Damascus.

February 26, 2012: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma vote during a referendum on a new constitution at a polling station in a Syrian TV station building in Damascus.  (Reuters)

Officials say that the EU foreign ministers have slapped sanctions on the wife and other close relatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad in a continuing attempt to stop the violent crackdown on opposition.

They said four members of the Assad family and eight government ministers have been targeted in the latest round of sanctions. All three officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a decision will be announced later Friday following the foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

Asma Assad, 36, was born in London and has British citizenship, and an EU official said that likely meant she could not be banned from travel to the U.K.

The U.N. estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed since an uprising began in Syria a year ago.