Today, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury sanctioned 19 individuals and entities under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 and other sanctions authorities.
Just over five years ago, on October 30, 2015, Bashar al Assad’s forces, backed by Iran and Russia, killed over 70 Syrian civilians, and injured nearly 500 more in the Douma marketplace bombing. Today, the Assad regime continues its futile attempt to impose a military solution to the Syrian conflict. In remembrance of the victims of the brutal Douma marketplace attack and other atrocities committed by the Assad regime, the Department of State is sanctioning the National Defense Forces, a pro-Assad, Iranian-affiliated militia, and one of its commanders, Saqr Rostom, pursuant to Executive Order 13894 for their efforts to obstruct a ceasefire in Syria.
The Administration’s sanctions targeting military commanders, members of parliament, Government of Syria entities, and financiers, highlight how deeply the Assad regime has corrupted Syria’s institutions. Treasury has sanctioned newly appointed members of parliament Nabil Toumeh Bin Mohammed, Amer Taysir Kheiti, and Hussam Bin Ahmed Rushdi Al-Qatirji. Many of Syria’s parliamentary representatives are expanding their financial dealings on behalf of Bashar and Maher al-Assad rather than using their legislative positions to serve the Syrian people.
Along with Treasury’s designations today of Syrian Air Force Intelligence Unit chief Ghassan Ismail and Syrian Political Security Directorate head Nasr al-Ali, the Department of State will continue to hold Assad and his supporters responsible for perpetuating the Syrian conflict. Those who do business with any of the 19 individuals and entities added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List are putting themselves at risk of U.S. sanctions. As our sanctions do not on target bona fide humanitarian-related trade, assistance, or activity, the United States government will also continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.
The United States is committed to answering the Syrian people’s demand for a lasting political solution to the conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. To that end, we support UN Special Envoy Pedersen’s call for a nationwide ceasefire, the release of political prisoners and detainees, the drafting of a new constitution, as well as the convening of UN
supervised free and fair elections. The Assad regime has a choice: take irreversible steps toward a peaceful resolution of this nearly decade-long conflict or face further crippling sanctions.