U.S. Imposes New Sanctions Targeting Assad Family, Syrian Military Unit
30 Jul 2020

The U.S. placed sanctions on a son of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a Syrian military unit in an effort by the Trump administration to pressure the country’s regime to end a civil war.

Wednesday’s actions by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. State Department, which included the blacklisting of four individuals and 10 entities, were imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.

The Caesar Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in December as part of an annual defense-policy bill, mandates the administration employ “diplomatic and coercive means,” such as sanctions, to hold Mr. Assad and his regime responsible for alleged crimes against civilians. The measures are intended to punish the regime’s supporters and disrupt the flow of funds that help Mr. Assad retain power.

The U.S. and its allies have steadily ratcheted up sanctions against the Assad regime and its supporters since 2011 as a violent crackdown on antigovernment protesters became a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The State Department’s action targeted Mr. Assad’s 18-year-old son, Hafez al-Assad, as well as military official Zuhair Tawfik al-Assad and his son,  Karam al-Assad. Under the Caesar Act, adult family members of people under sanction can themselves be sanctioned.

The First Division of the Syrian Arab Army was also blacklisted by the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Assad regime’s military has been involved in repression and torturing of protesters and has destroyed schools and hospitals.

In remarks prepared for delivery at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Ja’afari referred to sanctions and other coercive measures by Western governments as “crimes against the Syrian people,” saying that they hurt humanitarian and medical efforts in the country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Syrian businessman Wassim Anwar al-Qattan and nine entities, including a few Syrian malls and hotels, that have or allegedly supported and enriched the Syrian government. The Treasury alleged that Mr. al-Qattan has ties to regime figures and holds several contracts with the Syrian government to invest in and manage government-owned shopping malls and hotels in Damascus.

By Mengqi Sun, The Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2020

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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