us-sanctions 18 June 2020

US CAESAR sanctions hit Syrian elite

The United States has imposed its toughest sanctions on Syria, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning, ‘Anyone doing business with the Assad regime, no matter where in the world they are, is potentially exposed to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.’

He said that the Treasury Department and State Department are releasing 39 designations under the Caesar Act and an executive order ‘as the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue and support.’

‘We are designating the architect of this suffering Bashar Al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad,’ Pompeo said in a statement. Others designated include members of the ruling family as well as senior military and business leaders.

‘I will make special note of the designation for the first time of Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, who with the support of her husband and members of her Akhras family has become one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers,’ Pompeo said. ‘Now anyone doing business with any of these persons or entities is at risk of sanctions,’ he warned.

Pompeo said that the choice for Assad and his supporters is to seek a lasting political solution in line with UN Resolution 2254 ‘or face ever new tranches of crippling sanctions’.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act is named after a Syrian photographer who worked with the military police and turned over photographs of thousands tortured by the Assad regime.