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US State Department Sanctions Wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad

The US State Department announced new sanctions on Asma Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad, for preventing efforts to resolve the long-running Syrian civil war. Asama Assad “has spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charities and civil society organizations,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sanctions also will be levied against several members of Asma Assad’s immediate family, according to the statement, which named Fawaz Akhras, Sahar Otri Akhras, Firas al Akhras and Eyad Akhras. “The Assad and Akhras families have accumulated their ill-gotten riches at the expense of the Syrian people through their control over an extensive, illicit network with links in Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere.  Meanwhile, the Syrian people continue to wait in long lines for bread, fuel, and medicine as the Assad regime chooses to cut subsidies for these basic essentials that Syrians need,” Pompeo said.

The State Department also announced sanctions against the commander of Syria’s Military Intelligence organization, Gen. Kifah Moulhem, and that the Treasury Department would sanction the Central Bank of Syria, as well as: Lina al-Kinayeh, one of Bashar Assad’s key advisers; her husband, Syrian lawmaker Mohammed Masouti; and several regime-affiliated businesses.

The sanctions were announced to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, calling for a cease-fire and political settlement of the Syrian civil war.