The EU expanded its sanctions against the Syrian regime and its supporters by adding eight more business people and two entities in the sanctions list on Monday.

"Their activities directly benefited the Assad regime, including through projects located on lands expropriated from persons displaced by the conflict," the EU Council said in a press release.

So far, 277 business people and 71 entities have been affected by the EU sanctions, such as travel ban or asset freeze.

The council said: "The EU sanctions currently in place against Syria also include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, and export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression, as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications."

The union, which has been implementing sanctions on Syria since 2011, revises its decision in this field on annual basis.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.