The United States has imposed a new series of sweeping sanctions targeting those the Trump administration accuses of aiding the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Four people, including Hafez al-Assad, the president's teenage son, and 10 entities were designated under the direction of President Donald Trump by the Treasury and State Departments for "actively supporting the murderous and barbaric Assad regime," the White House said in a statement.
Along with Hafez, the sanctions target a businessman, nine entities accused of enriching the Syrian regime through the construction of luxury real estate, the regime-controlled First Division of the Syrian Arab Army and Assad regime officials, including a senior regime general.
"We will continue to hold Bashar al-Assad and his regime accountable for their atrocities while keeping the memory of their victims alive," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "It is time for Assad's needless, brutal war to end."
Joel Rayburn, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of State, explained Hafez, Assad's 18-year-old son, was blacklisted as Syrian regime officials and businessmen have used their children to evade U.S. sanctions.
"It seems very clear that the immediate family of Bashar al-Assad and their in-laws are attempting to consolidate economic power inside Syria so that they could use this to further consolidate political power," he said.
The sanctions were imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act that went into effect last month allowing the president to blacklist individuals and businesses who work with Assad as he attempts to reconstruct Syria that has been devastated by the civil conflict he initiated in 2011 when he forcefully tried to quell pro-democracy protests.
Wednesday's sanctions are the second batch to be imposed under this act after 39 people and entities, including Assad's wife, Asma al-Assad, were blacklisted last month.
The United States also sanctioned Wassim Anwar al-Qattan, a Syrian businessman who holds several contracts with the Syrian government to develop state-owned shopping malls and hotel properties in Damascus.
"While corrupt businessmen with ties to Assad invest in luxury real estate made possible by forced displacement of innocent civilians, they also worsen the oppression of the Syrian people," Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. "The United States remains committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, while the Assad regime seeks to profit from their suffering."
The White House said more sanctions will follow as part of the Trump administration's campaign to deny Assad resources to wage war against the Syrian people.
"Today's actions are intended to hold the murderous Assad regime accountable," the White House said. "They are not directed at the Syrian people, whom the United States supports in their efforts for peace, stability and rule of law."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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