US imposes financial sanctions against 271 Syrian officials

The US Treasury Secretary said new sanctions against Syria are intended to deter the spread of “barbaric chemical weapons.”

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Monday that it was implementing “one of the largest sanctions actions in its history,” against the Syrian government in response to the sarin gas attack in Syria’s Idlib province in early April.

“The United States is sending a strong message with this action that we will hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations in order to deter the spread of these types of barbaric chemical weapons,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

The sanctions are geared towards penalizing the institutions and individuals behind the production of chemical weapons.

“These sweeping sanctions target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women, and children,” Mnuchin continued.

The US Treasury Department said it is sanctioning 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), who have “expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

“We take Syria’s disregard for innocent human life very seriously, and will relentlessly pursue and shut down the financial networks of all individuals involved with the production of chemical weapons used to commit these atrocities.”

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The Treasury Department accused the individuals of “materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, and having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of Syria.”

The sanctions mandate that “any property or interest in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked.”

The European Union has also implemented sanctions against Syrian military officials accused of launching chemical weapons attacks. Both the US and EU have unilaterally sanctioned Syria as both failed to push through sanctions in the UN Security Council due to continuous vetoes by Russia and China.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News