POLITICS
10/04/2011 05:38 EDT | Updated 12/04/2011 05:12 EST

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada expanding Syrian sanctions

OTTAWA - Canada is expanding its sanctions against Syria in an effort to ramp up pressure against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Tuesday.

"The measures that we're announcing today will support international efforts to exert concentrated efforts on the Assad regime," the minister said.

Baird said the new sanctions prohibit the purchase or transportation of petroleum products and any new investment in Syria's oil sector.

Canada is also adding 27 new individuals and 12 new entities to the sanctions list.

Thousands were killed or detained earlier this year as Syrians protested against their government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders have called for Assad to resign.

Canadian exports to Syria are worth about $60 million a year.

Suncor (TSX:SU), Canada's largest energy company, is a partner in the Ebla natural gas project in Syria with General Petroleum Corp..