US slams sanctions on Syria’s President Assad’s son

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In the latest list of sanctioned people in Syrian regime by US State Department, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s eldest son Hafez Bashar al-Assad has been named. Various Syrian officials and entities have been sanctioned by the US under the Caesar Act.

The new list is the second in order by US who are sanctioned on account of “barbarous First Division of the Syrian Army”. The first list was released by US State Department on June 17 in which sanctioned Syrian officials included President Assad, his wife and many other family members. Many businessmen were also included in the first wave of sanctioned Syrians who provided influx of money for Assad. Secondary sanctions were also imposed to avoid any external dealing to happen with Assad’s business circle.

Although no sanctions were imposed on supporters of Assad outside Syria or Russia, US had urged Americans and others to deplete their connections and any dealings with the Syrian regime.

Sanctions come over Syria as the country is grappling with economic meltdown and is on verge of collapse due to ongoing civil war for 9 years now, food crisis, massive inflation and the current coronavirus crisis sweeping through the Arab region. The timing of sanctions is deliberately decided to be introduced in the week of some of the most disastrous atrocities done by Assad regime in 2011 and 2019, said US deputy assistant Secretary of State, Joel Rayburn.

On being asked the reason of sanctioning Assad’s son in latest list who is 2001 born, Rayburn said, “There has been a trend of senior Syrian regime actors and business people who have been active in the regime to do business through their adult family members to evade 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 added, “Assad would only use such power to strengthen the killing machine against the Syrian people.” Any impact on humanitarian trade and Lebanon’s economy has been denied by Rayburn.

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