The Latest: US sanctions 271 in Syrian chemical attack
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on new U.S. sanctions against Syria (all times local):
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 Monday 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 U.S. 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 U.S. retaliated earlier this month by launching missiles against a Syrian airfield.
The Trump administration will issue new sanctions against Syria as early as Monday as part of its ongoing crackdown on the Syrian government and those who support it.
Three U.S. officials said that the sanctions are part of a broader effort to cut off funding and other support to Syria’s President Bashar Assad and his government amid the country’s escalating civil war. The U.S. blames Assad for a recent chemical attack on Syrian civilians, and responded 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 authorized to discuss the decision publicly.
Trump has called Assad “evil” and said his use of chemical weapons “crossed a lot of lines.”
The U.S. has gradually been expanding its sanctions program 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.