Extensive US sanctions against Assad government and its supporters

The United States announced, Wednesday, new sanctions against the Syrian government and its supporters, as the Department of the State and the Treasury issued two separate statements on the move, which is the second batch of measures taken under the Caesar Act to protect Syrian civilians, which entered into force last month.

In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the new set of sanctions was named "Hama and Ma`rat al-Nu`man Sanctions," noting that it aims to perpetuate two of the most brutal atrocities of the Assad regime, and each occurred on this week in 2011 and 2019.

The announced list includes 14 new punishments, as Pompeo announced the inclusion of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad's son, Zuhair Tawfiq al-Assad, his son, Karam al-Assad, and the first division of government forces on the sanctions list.

Pompeo said: "Nine years ago, Bashar al-Assad's forces brutally besieged the city of Hama, killing dozens of peaceful demonstrators, in a shocking indication of what would happen next. One year ago, the Assad regime and its allies bombed a crowded market in Ma`rat al-Numan, Killing 42 innocent Syrians. "

The minister explained that "there must be accountability and justice for the victims of Hama and Ma'rat al-Numan, and other war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime.

The Assad regime and those who support it have a simple choice: either to take irreversible steps toward a lasting political solution to end the conflict Syrian that is called for by Security Council Resolution 2254 or faces new slides of sanctions that will paralyze him. " In the statement, the US Secretary pledged to continue "to blame Bashar al-Assad and his regime for the atrocities they committed, while we commemorate their victims." And markets without the slightest respect for human life. "

In its statement, the Ministry of the Treasury announced that its Overseas Asset Control Office (OFAC) has included a businessman and nine entities on the sanctions lists because of their enrichment of the Syrian government by building luxury properties.

The ministry confirmed that this step comes within the framework of "continuing pressure on investors and companies supporting the corrupt reconstruction efforts of the Assad regime."

"The ten goals that the Treasury is listing today include four targets under Caesar's Act, and Executive Order No. 13582 because of its great support to the Syrian government, while the remaining six goals are listed under Executive Order No. 13582 only," the statement said.

The US Treasury confirmed that it continues to put pressure on investors and corporations supporting the "corrupt rebuilding efforts of the Assad regime."

"The corrupt businessmen who have ties to Assad are increasing the repression of the Syrian people while they invest in luxury real estate thanks to the forced displacement of innocent civilians," the statement quoted Minister Stephen Minuchen as saying.

"The United States remains committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people as the Assad regime seeks to take advantage of its suffering," he added.

The Treasury revealed that it included, in conjunction with the sanctions announced by the US State Department, "four people under Article Two of Executive Order No. 13894 that focuses on those who hinder, obstruct or prevent a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict."

Among the targets is the Syrian businessman, Wasim Anwar Al-Qattan, who clarified the treasury statement that he had several contracts with the Syrian government to develop a shopping center and hotels in Damascus owned by the government.

The statement said that the reports indicate that "Al-Qattan is linked to strong figures from the regime, and the Syrian government has recently established almost all major real estate projects outside the city of Marota in Damascus."

"Qattan appeared for the first time in the Damascene business community in July 2017 when its subsidiary, Murouj Al-Sham Investment and Tourism won a bid to reinvest in the Qasiyoun Mall."

He added, "Reports indicate that the Syrian Ministry extracted the contract from the previous investor in the project after Al-Qattan presented the Syrian government with a higher annual fee of 1.2 billion Syrian pounds (2.7 million dollars). In addition, the Morouj Al-Sham Company for Investment and Tourism signed a contract with the Syrian Ministry of Tourism in June 2018 to invest in the Galaa Hotel in Damascus and paid the government 2.25 billion Syrian pounds (5 million dollars) each year for 25 years.

And “Al-Qattan also owns 50% of Adam Trade and Investment Company, which obtained a contract from the Syrian government in August 2018 to develop and manage the Massa Plaza complex in Damascus. In January 2019, the“ Intersection ”Ltd. affiliate of Al-Qattan received a 48-year contract to invest in the Yalbagha complex Of the Syrian Ministry of Endowments and located in the center of Damascus, in order to turn it into a tourist commercial complex, "according to the Ministry of the Treasury.

It emphasized that "the Qasiyoun complex, the Al-Galaa hotel, the Massa Plaza complex and the Yalba complex are listed according to Executive Decree No. 13582 because the Syrian government owns or controls them or because it worked for them or on their behalf, either directly or indirectly."

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Source : Al-Hurra


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