The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned one person and nine entities on Wednesday for supporting the efforts of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The U.S. government believes the entities supported Assad funding luxury real estate developments.
“While corrupt businessmen with ties to Assad invest in luxury real estate made possible by forced displacement of innocent civilians, they also worsen the oppression of the Syrian people,” said U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. “The United States remains committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, while the Assad regime seeks to profit from their suffering.”
This is OFAC’s second sanction under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act). All targets sanctioned under the Caesar Act are believed to be supporting and helping the reconstruction efforts of Assad in some way. The first sanction under the Caesar Act targeted nine entities and took place on June 17, 2020.
The U.S. says it believes that the entities targeted in their sanctions profit from Syria’s problems, naming in their press release the July 2011 siege of city of Hama and the July 2019 bombing of the Maarat al-Numan market.
During the July 2011 siege of Hama, the Syrian government deployed its army to crack down on anti-government protests, resulting in mass civilian deaths and casualties.
The Maarat al-Numan market bombing was an aerial terror attack that killed and wounded many civilians. The United Nations Human Rights Council said that the attack came from “pro-government forces intended to terrorize civilians in an effort to depopulate the zone and accelerate its capture.”