Syria gets toughest sanctions by US in an attempt to push Assad’s 9-year bloody conflict to an end

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

On Wednesday, the U.S imposed sanctions on Syria, the toughest till date. This was carried out with purpose of targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to plug off the revenue for his government, in an attempt to force the country back to United Nations-led negotiations and facilitate an end to Syria’s almost a decade long war.

According to the new sanctions imposed by US on Syria, 39 companies and individuals have been penalized. This includes Assad, his wife Asma and her family. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described them as “one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers.”

The fresh set of travel restrictions and economic sanctions have hit Syria at a time when Assad is grappling with a tough economic situation in country as a result of decade long bloody war. Emerging rare outbreaks of conflicts in the country against Assad-led government are only deepening the crisis for him.

The sanctions imposed are under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act which was signed by President Donald Trump in December 2019. Announcing the restrictions and regulations US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the new steps were just the start of a continued series of economic and political pressure against Assad.

Read More: US slaps Caesar Act sanctions on Syria starting today

He said, “We anticipate many more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people and the Syrian government agrees to a political solution to the conflict.”

Currently, Syria is under numerous sanctions imposed by US and European Union that have frozen assets of the state and many organizations and individuals.

Washington has already imposed a ban on exports and investments by Americans in Syria, along with oil and hydrocarbon products related transactions.

As per the new sanctions, US has now the authority to freeze assets of anyone in the country irrespective of nationality. This is going to cover a broader base and many sectors. The fresh set of sanctions are also supposed to target the Russia and Iran entities which are Assad’s main allies and supporters.

Pompeo in his statement mentioned all the affected people under sanctions – Assad, his wife, family members, top generals in the army and Iranian militia. However, he singled out Assad’s wife Asma Assad specifically. “I will make special note of the designation for the first time of Asma Assad, wife of Bashar Assad, who with the support of her husband and members of her Akhras family has become one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers”, Pompeo said.

Syria has blamed the west for their sanctions being the cause of chaos in the country, currency collapse leading to hardships for the common man.  

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