The United States on Thursday blacklisted senior Syrian government officials and leaders of several Syrian military units as Washington continues to impose sanctions aimed at cutting off funds for Baschar al-Assad. Because good intelligence 0n Syria produces more sanctions, this cat and mouse scenario will suck the oxygen out of Assad sooner than later. During wars, people starve. When they starve, they talk.
It is likely Assad is using these assets to avoid U.S. sanctions. Just as he tried to use his son Hafez to seek Gulf funds for his bankrupt regime.
The action, which follows the blacklisting of Assad, his wife and other individuals and entities, mark another round of sanctions in Washington’s bid to push Assad’s government back to United Nations-led negotiations and broker an end to the country’s nearly decade-long war.
CIVILIANS AND VIOLENT MILITARY OFFICERS
The Treasury said in a statement that the United States imposed sanctions on Luna Al Shibl. She is Assad’s top press officer; as well as her husband Mohammad Ammar Saati bin Mohamad Nawzad, a prominent member of the Syrian Baath Party and former parliamentarian. Neither boasts any public photos on the Internet.
The U.S. State Department also imposed sanctions on the leadership of several Syrian military units, including National Defense Forces commander Fadi Saqr, over their efforts to prevent a ceasefire, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement, warning Washington will “aggressively pursue” sanctions against other military commanders.
The United States and its allies are united in continuing to apply pressure on Assad and his enablers until there is peaceful, political solution to the conflict. Assad and his foreign patrons know the clock is ticking for action. The United States will continue to impose costs on anyone, anywhere who obstructs a peaceful political solution to the Syrian conflict.
Thursday’s move freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted. It also bars Americans from dealing with them.
A crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to a civil war. Iran and Russia backed the Assad regime and participated in killing Syrian civilians.
Millions of people have fled Syria and millions more have been internally displaced. Some 700,000 Syrian and foreigners died in Syria since 2011. Many of them journalists.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said:
The United States will continue to impose costs on those facilitating the Assad regime’s ongoing war against its own people.
Reuters contributed to this article.