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U.S. Slaps 39 New Sanctions Designations on Syria, Including Assad, His Wife, and Family Members

June 17, 2020 (EIRNS)—The U.S. has imposed 39 new, draconian sanctions on Syria under the so-called Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act, passed as part of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in December 2019. Named after the pseudonym used by a Syrian police defector who reportedly smuggled out tens of thousands of photos of torture in Syrian prisons, the act not only targets individuals in the Syrian government allegedly responsible for criminal acts against the Syrian people, but also those who do business with them.

Individuals targeted today include Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, his wife Asma; Assad’s sister Bushra; Assad’s brother, Maher and sister-in-law Manal; Mohammed Hamsho, the head of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce; his wife Rania al-Dabbas; their son Ahmad Hamsho, a show jumper in Syria’s equestrian team in the 2012 Olympics; and Ghassan Ali, a right-hand man of Maher Assad, and Samer al-Dana, who are leaders of the Syrian military’s Fourth Division.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “Today’s designations send a clear message that no individual or business should enter into business with or otherwise enrich such a vile regime.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained in a separate statement, “Mandatory sanctions under the Caesar Act target foreign persons who facilitate the Assad regime’s acquisition of goods, services, or technologies that support the regime’s military activities as well as its aviation and oil and gas production industries.”

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a speech delivered on June 16, advised the Lebanese government to ignore the new U.S. sanctions. “U.S.’ resort to Caesar’s act is an evidence of Syria’s victory in the military and field war/ It is its last weapon,” he said, urging Lebanon to take a stand from this unjust, cruel Act which will affect Lebanon at different levels, reported Al-Manar News. “Whoever calls to close borders with Syria will later call us to open the borders with ‘Israel,’ ” he said.

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