Syria asks for clarifications following freeze of assets owned by Syrian officials
An official Syrian source on Thursday declared that Damascus had asked its Ambassador to Washington to get clarifications from the US State Department on a decision by the US Treasury Department to freeze financial assets of Syrian officials.
“Syria, surprised by the way the US adopts in the international relations and the political context of the US announcement, sees that the aim of this measure is to divert attention from the Israeli aggression on South Lebanon yesterday, escalating political and media pressures on Syria who completely rejects them ,” the official source added.
Earlier, the Bush administration increased pressure on the Syrian government, ordering a freeze on any assets in American financial institutions controlled by two senior Syrian intelligence officials who served successively as Syria's strongmen in Lebanon during the three-decade occupation that ended in April.
Ghazi Kanaan, now Syria's interior minister, served until 2002 as chief of military intelligence in Lebanon, and Rustum Ghazali, who succeeded him, still holds that title, despite the pullout.
A Treasury Department statement said that the two men had "allegedly engaged in a variety of corrupt activities and were reportedly the beneficiaries of corrupt business deals."