News / Middle East

US Cites Hezbollah Support for Assad in New Sanctions Announcement

WHITE HOUSE — The United States on Friday announced new sanctions targeting the Assad government in Syria and detailed how Hezbollah -- already designated a terrorist organization by the United States -- has supported the Syrian government crackdown on opposition forces.

The State Department said Syria's state oil company, Sytrol, is being sanctioned for its role in providing gasoline to Iran, a key supporter of the Assad government.

A statement said the Syrian company's activities allow Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while helping President Bashar al-Assad and his government oppress Syria's people.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Hezbollah for its role in providing support to the Syrian government.  These freeze Hezbollah assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit Americans and U.S. companies from dealing with the group.

The Lebanese-based group has been formally designated as a terrorist organization for years and is already subject to sanctions.  

Friday's action highlights what Washington calls Hezbollah's "integral role in the continued violence the Assad regime is inflicting on the Syrian population."  

The State Department mentioned Hezbollah training, advice and extensive logistical support, including facilitating training of Syrian government troops by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force.

Press secretary Jay Carney responded this way when asked if the new measures would have real rather than symbolic effects. "No single sanction is going to by itself prevent Assad from getting his last bit of financing, but together collectively the sanctions enhance pressure," Carney said.

George Lopez, Professor of Peace Studies at Notre Dame, says the U.S. actions are designed to send another clear signal to supporters of Syria's president.

"The fact that it occurs right after the day after the Iranian conference, where they tried to build the picture that there are many supporters of the Damascus regime, I think Washington sends a signal to others who were there that you don't become a supporter of Damascus without it potentially incurring some real costs to you," Lopez said.

Lopez called the timing of the U.S. actions significant as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared for talks with Turkish government officials and Syrian opposition activists.

Clinton is expected to announce more than $5 million in new humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees fleeing fighting.  Britain Friday announced it is providing nearly $8 million in communications equipment and medical supplies.

The United States has continued to rule out moving beyond non-lethal aid to the opposition.

In remarks this week, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said the president has taken no options off the table, including consideration of a "no-fly zone."

"You can imagine that just like happened in Libya, the situation in Syria has been now evolving over the past number of months and the U.S. government always looks at situations and looks at what types of scenarios might unfold and then accordingly looks at what type of contingency plans might be available to deal with certain circumstances," Brennan said.

Jay Carney cautioned reporters on Friday not to "over-interpret" Brennan's remarks about a no-fly zone, saying he was making the point the administration has stressed all along that President Obama and his advisers are constantly evaluating all options.

In previous actions, the U.S. barred Syria's central bank and top Syrian government officials from access to U.S. markets.  Mr. Obama also targeted individuals or entities helping the Syrian and Iranian governments use technology to act against the opposition.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 13, 2012 8:04 AM
A no fly zone will definitely clip the wings of Hezbollah. This will be the most welcome development of the Syrian Arab Spring, and people will be happy to see not just the US but also the EU expedite action on it. It will go a long way to bring the much needed peace in the Middle East, especially given Syria's location in central places of the region. That way, not only will it ensure Saudi Arabia's security, Jordan and other weaker and threatened regional players will benefit.

by: Stephan Lubeck from: Germany
August 11, 2012 5:08 PM
throughout it all Israel - arrayed like a queen - has behaved like a queen as well... God Bless you Israel

by: Paulina from: USA
August 10, 2012 10:25 PM
isn't it about time...??? hey, idiots, the Hizbos have killed more Americans than Al Qaida!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs