News / Middle East

US Sanctions Syrian, Iranian Police for Syria Crackdown

A woman arranges candles with the colors of Syrian national flag during a sit-in for people who were killed during protests in Syria, Damascus, June 29, 2011
A woman arranges candles with the colors of Syrian national flag during a sit-in for people who were killed during protests in Syria, Damascus, June 29, 2011

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions against a Syrian police unit and key Iranian security officials in connection with Syria’s lethal crackdown on protestors. U.S. officials accuse Iran of providing material support for Syrian repression.  

The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department add to a growing list of Syrian and Iranian individuals and entities targeted by the United States, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and members of his inner circle.

An grab taken on June 27, 2011 from footage uploaded on YouTube on June 24 allegedly shows Syrian security forces beating two men with batons and shoving them in the trunk of a car in Barza on the outskirts of Damascus (editorial content, date and locatio
An grab taken on June 27, 2011 from footage uploaded on YouTube on June 24 allegedly shows Syrian security forces beating two men with batons and shoving them in the trunk of a car in Barza on the outskirts of Damascus (editorial content, date and locatio

Those cited Wednesday for engaging in human rights abuses include the Syrian Political Security Directorate - one of four branches of the Syrian security forces - and the head of Syrian Air Force Intelligence, Major General Jamil Hassan.

Also designated, for providing support for human rights abuses, were the chief of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, and his deputy, Ahmad-Reza Radan - who is said to have traveled to Damascus in April to aid the Syrian crackdown.

The Treasury Department said agents of the Syrian political security unit opened fire and killed demonstrators in specific incidents in March in the town of Dar’a and in April in Nawa.

The U.S. sanctions freeze any assets those designated might have in the United States and forbid any dealings with them by U.S. citizens or firms.

The immediate effect might be limited, but State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said the sanctions have wide-ranging implications for those targeted.

“These also limit the ability for other international companies and investors to do business with them as well, so it does have a broad reach,"said Toner. "More importantly, it sends a message that we’re watching these individuals’ actions. And not only watching them, but we’re taking action against them to prohibit any involvement they may have in the U.S. economic system, which as you know reaches worldwide.”

Toner rejected suggestions by Syrian dissident figures and regional analysts that the United States has an overly-optimistic view of the meeting of opposition members that Syrian authorities allowed to be held on Monday in Damascus.

The State Department called the gesture positive and a sign of progress, but several expatriate members of the Syrian opposition dismissed it as a media exercise to draw attention away from continued violence against street protestors.

Syria expert Andrew Tabler of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy also called it a diversion.

“It’s just a way to deflect pressure. We still haven’t seen the regime make any moves," said Tabler. "I mean talking with the opposition in the country who they like, and not talking with the opposition which is driving the protests on the ground, is just not adequate for solving this problem.”

The State Department’s Mark Toner said no one in the Obama administration views the situation in Syria with undue optimism.

“I don’t think anyone has donned rose-colored glasses when they’re looking at the prospects for Assad’s regime to enact meaningful reform," said Toner. "We did, I think, talk about the opposition meeting as a constructive step. But obviously, the regime needs to do a lot more, including allowing peaceful protestors to demonstrate and not firing on innocent protestors.”

The State Department says U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been able to deliver messages to senior Syrian officials in recent days, criticizing their tactics, after having been denied such access for several weeks.


Watch VOA interview with Human Rights Watch official Joe Stork on Syria's human rights record

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid