As reported by Censor.NET citing The Independent, the U.S. has blacklisted 271 employees of a Syrian government agency allegedly responsible for developing chemical weapons.
Some of the people blacklisted had worked on Syria's chemical weapons program for more than five years, the Treasury Department said. The sanction orders U.S. banks to freeze the assets of any employees named, and bans American companies from conducting business with them.
"These sweeping sanctions target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women, and children," U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
U.S. authorities, he said, would "relentlessly pursue and shut down the financial networks of all individuals involved with the production of chemical weapons used to commit these atrocities."
The sanctions listings are the latest action taken by the Trump Administration in response to the 4 April chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun that U.S. authorities say killed nearly 90 people, including children. The United States says Assad's forces carried out the attack, while Assad has said the attack is a fabrication.
On April 7, U.S. warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase following a chemical attack blamed on President Assad.
Following the airstrike, Trump called on all civilized countries to join the U.S. in its effort to put an end to the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. The Kremlin called the U.S. missile strike against the Syrian government airfield an act of aggression against a sovereign state and violation of international law. Russia's stance was backed by Iran, while Trump's decision was applauded by Israel, Britain, Australia and Turkey.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking at the G7 summit, said Russia must choose whether to side with the U.S. and likeminded countries on Syria, or embrace Iran, militant group Hezbollah and embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
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