US to put new sanctions on war-torn Syria during the COVID-19 outbreak

The US State and Treasury department said 39 Syrian people, including al-Assad and his wife, had been designated for the new sanctions.

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sanctions

The United States has enforced tough new economic sanctions to prevent foreign business activity with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The US State and Treasury department said 39 Syrian people, including al-Assad and his wife, had been designated for the new sanctions.

Others include members of the extended al-Assad family, senior armed leaders, and business officials. Many people on the list were already subjected to the US sanctions, but the penalties also target non-Syrians who do business with them.

One newcomer to the US blacklist is al-Assad’s wife, Asma, who had not previously been targeted.

The sanctions are the result of the law known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. It was named after the alias of a Syrian who worked with the military police and turned over images of thousands of victims of torture by al-Assad’s government.

The State Secretary of the US Mike Pompeo said, “Many more sanctions will come until Assad, and his regime stop their unnecessary, brutal war and agree to a political solution.”

“Anyone doing business with the Assad administration, no matter where they are, is likely to be exposed to travel limitations and financial penalties,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Reaction from Syria and other countries

A Syrian foreign ministry source told the state news agency that the US sanctions violated international law and accused officials in Washington of behaving like a “gang.”

“The US government speaking about human rights in Syria exceeds the most violent forms of lies and hypocrisy,” the source added.

At a virtual session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Russian representative Vassily Nebenzi also criticized the sanctions, saying the US had confirmed that its purpose is to overthrow the legitimate authorities in Syria.

Zhang Jun of China warned that “as vulnerable countries like Syria are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing more sanctions is simply inhumane”.

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