With a State Department press release, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported 14 new and even more radical sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seeking to end the civil war.
After nearly a decade of war, amid a deep economic crisis, Assad faces a new blow from U.S. sanctions against him, his family, and allies.
The economic sanctions and individual designations began last month under Syria’s Caesar Civil Protection Act, signed by President Trump in December 2019.
The Caesar Act is named after a Syrian military photographer who leaked images of thousands of Syrians being tortured and killed in prisons across the country.
As Reuters reported, new travel restrictions and financial sanctions are hitting Assad’s inner circle, including his wife, Asma. Pompeo described her and her family as “one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers.” They also pointed to Assad’s brother, sister, the eldest son, some high-ranking generals, and Iranian militia.
Currently, Syria is already affected by a long list of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. The objective is to weaken and economically block Assad’s regime so that it loses strength and resigns itself to leaving power, allowing a new reorganization of the country, which has been in ruins since the civil war began.
Previous sanctions have already frozen the assets of the state and hundreds of companies and individuals. Washington prohibits U.S. exports to and investments in Syria and transactions involving oil and gas products. Based on the new Caesar Law, the new sanctions imposed can freeze the assets of anyone who deals with Syria, regardless of their nationality, and even target those who deal with Russian and Iranian companies and agencies, accused of being Assad’s main promoters.
In a video call with journalists, the United States special representative in Syria, Jim Jeffrey, said that Assad’s regime was cornered as never before by economic pressure. He added that even Russia was questioning its continued support for Assad.
“We are seeing somewhat a greater willingness of the Russians to at least explore with us and with our friends in the European Union … and with individual Arab countries, possible steps to ease the crisis in Syria,” Jeffrey said, according to Reuters.
In yesterday’s press release, Pompeo called on the Assad regime to end the brutal and unnecessary war being waged on Syrian citizens. He assured that the Caesar Act and other U.S. sanctions against Syria are not intended to harm the Syrian people and are not intended to hinder humanitarian assistance. On the contrary, they are the only tool for achieving the peace that the Syrian people deserve.
Pompeo stressed that the United States has already contributed more than $11.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since the conflict began, and pledged to continue support until the end of the conflict.
“Today we continue our campaign of sanctions designed to force Bashar al-Assad and his regime to cease their brutal war against the Syrian people and implement the political solution called for by UNSCR 2254. This is the only credible path to the peace the Syrian people deserve.” Pompeo wrote on his Twitter account.
Today we continue our campaign of sanctions designed to force Bashar al-Assad and his regime to cease their brutal war against the Syrian people and implement the political solution called for by UNSCR 2254. This is the only credible path to the peace the Syrian people deserve.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 29, 2020