U.S. adds Hezbollah to sanctions list over ties to Assad regime
The United States denounced the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for backing Bashar al-Assad on Friday, and added it to a list of organizations under sanctions for their ties to the Syrian regime. Hezbollah has been providing training, advice and extensive logistical support to the government of Syria, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement announcing the financial penalties.
The Treasury Department's latest actions against Syria will freeze any assets Hezbollah may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit Americans and U.S. companies from dealing with them. Washington already classes Hezbollah a "terrorist organization" and it is under U.S. sanctions, but Friday's move explicitly ties the group to the violence underway in Syria, where Assad is attempting to put down a revolt.
Hezbollah was added to a blacklist associated with an executive order signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in August last year which targeted the government of Syria and its supporters. Those sanctions were designed increase pressure on Damascus as Washington called for the first time for Assad to step down over his military assault on rebelling Syrians opposed to his rule. But 17 months after the start of the uprising the Syrian leader remains in power, and more than 20,000 people have been killed.
Earlier, the United States said it was preparing to announce new sanctions targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its supporters, a U.S. government official said on Friday. The new measures are expected to target Assad's government as well as possibly Iranian entities that the United States accuse of assisting Assad.
The United States also slapped sanctions Friday on the Syrian state oil company Sytrol for trading with Iran, in bid to starve the regimes in both Tehran and Damascus of much-needed revenue.
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