The European Union has reached an agreement in principle to tighten economic sanctions against Syria at the end of February to further cut funding for the regime, diplomats said Friday.
EU government representatives endorsed three new measures on Thursday, including an assets freeze against the central bank, a ban on Syrian phosphate exports and a prohibition on trading gold and gems, the diplomats said.
The 27-nation bloc accounts for 40 per cent of Syrian phosphate exports.
The EU is aiming to give the final go-ahead for the sanctions at a meeting of foreign ministers on 27 February.
Germany has also proposed a ban on commercial flights between Syria and Europe but such a measure "has little chance of being adopted," a European diplomat said.
A flight ban could cause problems for the evacuation of EU citizens if the violence in Syria deteriorates.
More Syrians may also be added to a list of people facing an EU travel ban and assets freeze. Nearly 150 people and entities are under EU sanctions.
The EU has already imposed oil and arms embargos against Syria in response to a crackdown that has left more than 6,000 people dead, according to rights groups.