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In this Feb. 10, 2017 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview in Damascus, Syria.


Canada has expanded its Syrian sanctions list to include 17 high-ranking individuals in the Assad government and five entities linked to the use of chemical weapons.

They will now be subject to an asset freeze and a prohibition on having any dealings with them.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says this will put additional pressure on President Bashar Assad to stop attacks on his own people.

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She says Canada is committed to international efforts to find a way to end the Syrian civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and sparked a refugee crisis.

Freeland says Canada wants Assad's associates to know their war crimes will not be tolerated and that they will be held accountable.

Canada is contributing more than $1.6 billion over the course of three years toward security, stabilization, and humanitarian and development assistance in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria and their impact on neighbouring countries.

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