U.S. Treasury Department increases sanctions against Syria

The U.S. Treasury Department designated four senior Syrian government officials, one airline that allegedly transported weaponry to the Assad regime and one privately-owned television station on Thursday for sanctions.

"Treasury will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to expose and disrupt the financial networks of those responsible for the Syrian government's egregious campaign to suppress its people," David Cohen, the department's under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said. "We are determined to target activity contributing to the abhorrent humanitarian situation in Syria - whether by overseeing the Assad government's indiscriminate killing of civilians, shipping weapons to the Syrian government, abusing positions of trust to supply intelligence to the regime, or disseminating the regime's propaganda."

The Treasury Department designated four senior Syrian officials, including Minister of Defense Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Minister of Health Sa'ad Abdel-Salam al-Nayef, Minister of Industry Adnan Abdo Al-Sukhni and Minister of Justice Najm Hamad al-Ahmad, pursuant to an executive order. Al-Freij is also being designated by a separate order for his alleged role in the commission of human rights abuses in Syria, such as ordering airstrikes that killed civilians. The department also designated Syrian government-owned Syrian Arab Airlines and privately-owned Al-Dunya Television.

Syrian Arab Airlines allegedly acted for or on behalf of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods in the transportation of weapons and ammunition to Syria, with the help of Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. Al-Dunya Television allegedly aired forced confessions.

Under the terms of the executive orders, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the entities and individuals designated and any assets of the designees subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

Since peaceful protests started against the Assad regime more than two years ago, the Treasury Department has used executive orders to sanction and expose people and entities involved in human rights abuses in Syria. The U.S. has thus far imposed sanctions on the Syrian government, Syria's Central Bank, Syrian oil companies and more than 100 individuals and entities.