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US Sanctions Frenchman, Uzbek Group for Aiding Syrian Terrorists


FILE - In this image posted on Twitter by Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front March 28, 2015, a Nusra Front fighter holds up his group's flag in Idlib province, northern Syria.

The U.S. on Thursday imposed economic sanctions on a French chemical weapons expert and an Uzbek fighting force, claiming they were supporting terrorists in the Syrian civil war.

The State Department declared both Joe Asperman, described as "a senior chemical weapons expert" for Islamic State, and Katibat al-Imam al-Bukhari, the Uzbek group, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

The blacklisting freezes any assets they may have in the United States and bars Americans from any transactions with them.

The State Department said Asperman "oversaw chemical operations production within Syria for ISIS (Islamic State) and the deployment of these chemical weapons at the battlefront."

It described Katibat al-Imam al-Bukhari as "the largest Uzbek fighting force in Syria." The State Department said the group "has played a significant role in the fighting in northwestern Syria, fighting alongside groups including al-Nusrah Front," al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria and already a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

The State Department said that last April, the Uzbek group "published a video showing armed men taking part in clashes, and in December 2015, posted a video of a training camp for children, where children are taught to handle and fire weapons."

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