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April 29, 2011 

Syria Update: US Government Imposes Additional Sanctions Targeted at Syrian Government

As a result of the recent human rights abuses and repression in Syria, the U.S. Government today took the following additional steps to put further pressure on the Syrian Government:

Executive Order Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to Human Rights Abuses in Syria

President Obama today signed an Executive Order (EO) expanding the scope of previous EOs on Syria by blocking the property of certain Syrian officials and others responsible for human rights abuses in Syria. The EO covers persons responsible for or involved in human rights abuses and repression; to be a senior official of an entity whose property is blocked pursuant to the EO; to have provided material or financial support to blocked persons; or to be owned or controlled by persons blocked under the EO.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

In order to implement the EO, OFAC today added several persons to the Specialty Designated Nationals List (SDN List), including Mahir al-Asad (aka al-Assad), the brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad; Atif Najib, President Asad’s cousin and Ali Mamluk, director of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID). In addition, Syria’s GID was designated under today’s EO. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was also designated under the Syria EO due to their support of Syria’s GID, although the IRGC has previously been designated by OFAC under other sanctions programs.

Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security

Today the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) revoked certain licenses for the export and reexport to Syria of items relating to VIP aircraft used to transport senior officials of the Syrian government. BIS took this action under the provision of the Export Administration Regulations that authorizes BIS to revise, suspend or revoke previously issued export or reexport licenses without notice.

Today’s actions will not impact any other licenses issued by BIS authorizing exports to Syria, such as for medical devices.

As a result of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, most exports and reexports of U.S. origin products to Syria have been prohibited since May 2004.

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