271 sanctions in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons
WASHINGTON (AP) :
The United States has issued 271 sanctions in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. It's one of the largest sanction actions in U.S. history.
The Trump administration said yesterday that it issued sanctions against 271 employees of Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center, the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons.
The action was announced in a statement by the Treasury Department, and Treasury Security Steve Mnuchin simultaneously briefed reporters at the White House.
The new sanctions are the latest US response to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons, most recently in rebel-held northern Idlib, in an attack that killed more than 80 civilians.
The US retaliated earlier this month by launching missiles against a Syrian airfield.
One official said the sanctions will primarily target weapons manufacturers believed to aid Assad's use of chemical weapons.
The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorised to discuss the decision publicly.
Trump has called Assad "evil" and said his use of chemical weapons "crossed a lot of lines".
The US has gradually been expanding its sanctions programme against Syria since 2004, when it issued sanctions targeting Syria for a range of offenses, including its support of terrorism, as well as its occupation of Lebanon, efforts to undermine stability in Iraq and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.