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US Treasury Targets Syrian Banker, 3 Companies With Sanctions

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Syrian official and three front companies it said were helping the Syrian government, which has been engaged in a bloody civil war.

The department targeted Batoul Rida, an official of the Central Bank of Syria, and one Syria-based company and two companies in Lebanon for working with the Syrian weapons agency, the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which Treasury said had connections to Syria's chemical weapons program.

“We are determined to use our financial tools to raise the costs to the Syrian government of its illicit activities,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Szubin said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government is a "gross violator of human rights" and engages in "dangerous weapons proliferation."

Syria agreed in 2013 to destroy its entire chemical weapons program after hundreds of people were killed in a sarin gas attack near Damascus. But a group monitoring the civil war said this month that government forces attacked another town using the poison gas chlorine as a weapon.

U.S. sanctions freeze any accounts the firms and Rida may have in the United States and prohibit U.S. people and companies from dealing with them.

Some material for this report came from AP.

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