US hits Syrian bank official, 3 companies with sanctions

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2015 11:07 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Syria's government aimed at blunting its weapons programs and pushing it into negotiations with rebels.

The Treasury Department's action targets Batoul Rida, a Syrian central bank official, and three "front companies" that help fund Syria's development of ballistic missiles and nonconventional weapons.

It cites Rida's involvement in cash transfers with U.S.-sanctioned institutions that enable the government's "military campaign against the Syrian people." One of the companies is based in Syria; two are in Lebanon.

The Treasury Department's sanctions chief, Adam Szubin, says Syrian President Bashar Assad's government is a "gross violator of human rights" and engages in "dangerous weapons proliferation."

The U.S. called for Assad to leave power four years ago. But Syria's civil war shows no sign of abating.