EU extends sanctions against Assad, backers for 1 year because of repression, rights abuses

The European Union is extending sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad and his closest allies for another year, citing continued repression and human rights abuses.

The EU said in a statement Thursday that "the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate," enough cause to extend travel bans and asset freezes to some 200 Syrian officials and 70 entities.

The EU also has an arms embargo and export restrictions on sensitive materials. It has an import ban on crude oil and bans EU companies to invest in the Syrian oil industry.

The Syria conflict is now in its fifth year, and more than 220,000 people have been killed.