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US Increases Pressure on Syrian Finance Sector

US Increases Pressure on Syrian Finance Sector

The United States on Wednesday pressed on with its strategy of applying “maximum pressure” on hostile, terror-supporting regimes, imposing fresh sanctions on several Syrian businesses, military officials and prominent individuals. Among those blacklisted by the US Treasury and State departments were the head of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the governor of Syria’s central bank, an army commander and a slew of telecommunications and transportation companies, all suspected of providing revenue directly to President Bashar al-Assad, or violating the Syrian cease-fire. Wednesday’s move will essentially freeze all US assets held by those sanctioned, while also preventing American citizens from doing business with them. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised Washington would “not cease until the Assad regime and its enablers take irreversible steps to end their campaign of violence against the Syrian people and genuinely implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254” which, passed in 2015, calls for a peaceful political settlement to the conflict. A UN commission report released in September concluded that the Damascus government has continued to perpetrate crimes against humanity against its civilians, including murder, torture and sexual violence. An estimated 400,000 to 600,000 people have been killed and about 13 million displaced in the civil war that began in 2011.

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