Black smoke is seen from Homs refinery on February 15, 2012
Black smoke is seen from Homs refinery on February 15, 2012 © - SANA/AFP/File
Black smoke is seen from Homs refinery on February 15, 2012
AFP
Last updated: May 8, 2014

US steps up sanctions against Syrian regime

The United States stepped up pressure Thursday against Syria's government, slapping sanctions on senior Syrian officials, a Russian bank and state-owned oil refineries.

The sanctions target six senior officials of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including his strategic affairs adviser, Brigadier General Bassam al-Hassan, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

Moscow-based Tempbank and Mikhail Gagloev, a senior executive of the bank, were targeted for providing millions of dollars in cash and financial services to the Syrian government, including the central bank and SYTROL, Syria's state oil marketing firm.

The Banias Refinery Company and the Homs Refinery Company were identified for sanctions as part of the Syrian government.

"Today's designation builds on Treasury's ongoing efforts to apply economic pressure on the Syrian government by choking off access to the international financial system," said David Cohen, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in the statement.

"We are committed to deterring those who contribute to violence and instability in Syria, and will continue to aggressively target individuals and entities supporting the Assad regime."

The sanctions forbid US citizens or businesses from transactions with them and freezes any assets they may have in a US jurisdiction.

The United States now has imposed sanctions on nearly 200 individuals and entities since unrest began in Syria three years ago as rebels attempted to oust the Assad regime.

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