Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Tomorrow will mark the seventh anniversary of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons attack in Ghouta which killed over 1,400 Syrians. Today, in memory of the victims that brutality, the United States is announcing six sanctions against the Assad regime’s military, government, and financial supporters. As we continue to implement the goals of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, we reaffirm our commitment to not stand by idly while Assad prolongs this conflict and the suffering of the Syrian people. We will continue pressure against the Assad regime to compel it to end its attacks against the Syrian people.
We are imposing sanctions on Assad’s henchman, Yasser Ibrahim, under Executive Order 13894 section 2(a)(i)(D) for his efforts to prevent or obstruct a political solution to the Syrian conflict. Using his networks across the Middle East and beyond, Ibrahim has cut corrupt deals that enrich Assad, while Syrians are dying from a lack of food and medicine.
As part of today’s action, the Treasury Department is taking action against the Syrian presidential office and against the Syrian Ba’ath Party. Specifically, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is designating, pursuant to Executive Order 13573, Luna Al Shibl, Assad’s presidential media advisor, and Mohamad Amar Saati, a senior Ba’ath party official who led an organization that facilitated the entry of university students into Assad-backed militias. They are among the many corrupt figures Assad has chosen as his advisors, not those focused on peacefully resolving Syria’s conflict.
Today we are also designating, pursuant to Executive Order 13894 section 2(a)(i)(A), leadership of several Syrian military units for their efforts to prevent a ceasefire in Syria. In the National Defense Forces, we are designating NDF commander Fadi Saqr. In the 4th Division, we are designating 42nd Brigade commander, Brigadier General Ghaith Dalah. Finally, in the Tiger Forces we are designating the Haider Regiment commander, Samer Ismail.
These senior officials lead the same Syrian military that has killed children with barrel bombs and used chemicals weapons against communities like Ghouta. They have shattered the social contract between citizens and the military sworn to protect them. Today’s sanctions reinforce our commitment to hold Assad’s generals and militia commanders accountable for their violations and abuses. We will aggressively pursue sanctions against other Syrian military commanders, as well as enforce existing U.S. sanctions against many current and retired commanders such as Lieutenant General Ali Ayoub, Major General Ali Mamluk, Brigadier General Bassam Al-Hassan, Major General Jamil Hassan, Major General Mohammad Dib Zaitoun, Brigadier General Suheil Hassan, Major General Rafiq Shahadah, and Major General Abd al-Fatah Qudsiyah. We will also support the sanctions our EU allies have levied against Assad’s military, including Major General Kifah Melhem, Brigadier General Nasser al-Ali, Major General Ghassan Ismail, Major General Hussam Luka, and militia commander Saqr Rustom. These brutal leaders of Assad’s war machine should have no role in Syria’s future.
While these Assad regime supporters prolong the brutal Syrian conflict, the United States and its international partners are standing by the Syrian people calling for peace. We support efforts to convene the UN-facilitated, Syrian-led Constitutional Committee and hope all participating recommit themselves to building a peaceful future for Syria. The only path to resolve this conflict is through the nationwide cease fire and political process outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. The United States and its allies are united in continuing to apply pressure on Assad and his enablers until there is peaceful, political solution to the conflict. Assad and his foreign patrons know the clock is ticking for action. In the meantime, the United States will continue to impose costs on anyone, anywhere who obstructs a peaceful political solution to the Syrian conflict.