US imposes new sanctions against Syrian figures close to al-Assad

FILE - In this June 25, 2019, file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy Kabul during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. On Monday, March 23, 2020, Pompeo arrived in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a U.S. peace deal signed last month with the Taliban. Pompeo's trip to the Afghan capital comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions against Syrian individuals and entities close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Their actions victimize the Syrian people and needlessly prolong their suffering,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

Among the people hit by the sanctions were Syria’s Central Bank Governor Hazem Karfoul and prominent businessman Khodr Taher bin Ali.

Also targeted was Husam Muhammad Louka, the chief of the General Intelligence Directorate. He is believed to be close to al-Assad’s brother Maher, who heads the Syrian army’s elite 4th Brigade.

So far, there has been no comment in Damascus on the new sanctions. In July, the US imposed a raft of new sanctions on top Syrian figures, including blacklisting the eldest son of al-Assad.

A month earlier, sanctions also hit al-Assad and his wife, Asma, as well as his brother Maher.
The US Treasury Department has accused al-Assad and his allies of getting rich off luxury projects taking

place under the guise of reconstruction from Syria’s war that started in 2011, while failing to provide for the people’s basic needs.

Syria blames the US sanctions for the economic downturn gripping the war-ravaged country.

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