The EU has widened the criteria for including individuals and entities in its sanctions against Syria. The sanctions were put in place because of the violent repression of the civilian population in Syria pursued by the Syrian regime, and widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In expanding the criteria, the Council of the European Union noted that the Syrian regime had made repeated attempts to circumvent EU sanctions. The amended legislation identifies certain categories of persons which the EU deems to pose a significant risk.

The new categories are as follows: leading businesspersons operating in Syria; members of the Assad and Makhlouf families; Syrian Government Ministers, security and intelligence officers, and certain members of the Syrian Armed Forces in post since May 2011; members of militias affiliated with the Syrian regime; persons and entities operating in the chemical weapons proliferation sector; and associates of the above.

The amendments are contained in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1828 amending Council Regulation (EU) 36/2012 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1836 amending Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.