President Obama signs Executive Order imposing sanctions against Syria for human rights abuses

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against Syrian officials and others responsible for human rights abuses, including through the use of violence against civilians and the commission of other human rights abuses.

This Order provides the United States with new tools to target individuals and entities determined to have engaged in human rights abuses in Syria, including those related to repression; to be a senior official of an entity whose property is blocked pursuant to the Order; to have provided material support to, or to be owned or controlled by, persons blocked under the Order.

The United States strongly condemns the Syrian government’s continued use of violence and intimidation against the Syrian people.  We call upon the Syrian regime and its supporters to refrain from further acts of violence and other human rights abuses against Syrian citizens seeking to express their political aspirations.

In signing today’s Order, the President imposed sanctions on the following individuals and entities listed in the Annex to the Order:

·         Mahir al-Asad:  The brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad and brigade commander in the Syrian Army’s 4th Armored Division, who has played a leading role in the Syrian regime’s actions in Dar’a, where protesters have been killed by Syrian security forces.

·         Atif Najib:  A cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Najib was the head of the Political Security Directorate (PSD) for Dar’a Province during March 2011, when protesters were killed there by Syrian security forces.

·         Ali Mamluk: director of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID).

·         Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID):  The overarching civilian intelligence service in Syria.  The GID represses internal dissent and monitors individual citizens, and has been involved in the Syrian regime’s actions in Dar’a where protesters were killed by Syrian security services.

·         Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF):  Iran is providing material support to the Syrian government related to cracking down on unrest in Syria.  The conduit for this Iranian material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate is the IRGC-QF.  Despite the Government of Iran’s public rhetoric claiming revolutionary solidarity with people throughout the region, Iran’s actions in support of the Syrian regime place it in stark opposition to the will of the Syrian people.  The IRGC-QF is a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is considered the military vanguard of Iran.  The IRGC-QF was designated by the Treasury Department in October 2007 for providing material support to terrorist groups around the world, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

As a result of this action, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the individuals listed in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

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