European Union foreign ministers on Saturday agreed to tighten sanctions on Syria and tasked foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with preparing the new round of measures by October.

“There still is a huge difference between the sanctions against Iran and those against Syria -- so there is room to further tighten with Syria, to apply even more pressure to the regime,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said.

The night before, the ministers agreed that the EU should draft a new round of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme. They would target commercial and financial interests, after the EU earlier this year banned Iranian oil imports.

“We have strong sanctions against Iran. Why wouldn’t there be just as strong sanctions against the clan of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad?” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius asked.

The ministers also agreed to boost humanitarian aid to Syrians displaced internally by the fighting and those who fled to neighbouring countries.

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