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Assad press officer among six Syrian regime figures targeted by US 'Caesar' sanctions

Former television news anchor Luna Al Shibli is among the six targeted [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 August, 2020

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions were imposed in memory of the victims of the chemical attacks in Ghouta seven years ago.

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Syria, Assad, US.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's press officer is among six regime officials and associates targeted by new US Treasury Department sanctions on Thursday.

The US government department said on its website that the sanctions aim to "compel the Bashar Al-Assad (Assad) regime to end its attacks against the Syrian people".

"These Syrian government officials actively contribute to the oppression of the Assad regime," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

"The United States will continue to impose costs on those facilitating the Assad regime's ongoing war against its own people."

Former television news anchor Luna Al-Shibl is described by the Treasury Department as one of the "most senior press officials in the Syrian government", credited with orchestrating his spin war over the past years of conflict.

"Despite countless Syrian civilians living under desperate siege in Syria's decade-long war, Al Shibl orchestrated photo ops for Assad among cheering Syrians," the Treasury Department statement reads.

Also targeted by the sanctions are Al-Shibl's husband, Mohamad Ammar Saati bin Mohamad Nawzad, who is himself a Baath Party leader.

Brigadier General Ghaith Dalah, Assad "henchman" Yasser Hussein Ibrahim, Haider Regiment commander Samer Ismail and National Defence Forces commander Fadi Saqr were also on the list, which includes a wide range of regime officials.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the sanctions were imposed in memory of the victims of the chemical attacks in Ghouta seven years ago, which killed hundreds of civilians in the Damascus suburb.

Read also: To protect and punish: Can Caesar Act sanctions avoid harming Syrians, too?

"Tomorrow will mark the seventh anniversary of the Assad regime's chemical weapons attack in Ghouta which killed over 1,400 Syrians," Pompeo said in a statement. "Today, in memory of the victims of that brutality, the United States is announcing six sanctions against the Assad regime's military, government and financial supporters."

Pompeo added that members of Syria's military were included in the list of six for their efforts to prevent and undermine a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

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