Assad must pay a price’: Israel welcomes US sanctions on Syria’s Assad and wife

June 18, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed the US’ newly imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma that went into effect as part of the Caesar Act.

Human Chain in Tel Aviv to Protest for Against the Ongoing Massacre in Syria (TPS)

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act sanctions Syrian regime leaders for war crimes against the Syrian population.

The Caesar Act came into effect on Wednesday and threatens anyone who does business with 39 Syrian named individuals and regime entities with US Treasury sanctions.

“Today we begin a sustained campaign of sanctions against the Assad regime under the Caesar Act, which authorizes severe economic sanctions to hold the Assad regime and its foreign enablers accountable for their brutal acts against the Syrian people,” US Secretary of State Mile Pompeo stated.

“Many more sanctions will come until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war and agree to a political solution” as stipulated by the December 2015 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 calling for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria, Pompeo added.

US State Department spokesperson Cale Brown stated that the sanctions “are just the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime the resources it uses to wage war against the Syrian people and to commit mass atrocities.”

“This act is meant to send a clear signal that no external actors should do business with or otherwise enrich such a regime,” he said.

Ashkenazi thanked President Donald Trump Pompeo and Congress for “their commitment to this issue.”

“It is important to continue to use all means to achieve the full withdrawal of Iran and all its proxies, chief among them Hezbollah, from Syria,” he stated Thursday.

“The continued Iranian presence undermines stability in Syria and the whole region. Assad is responsible and accountable for what happens in Syria and must pay a price for the continued presence of Iran and Hezbollah in his country,” he added.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the Caesar Act “reveals the US administration’s violation of all international laws and norms and the level to which its officials have gone down [sic] to touch the behaviour of gangs and highway robbers.”

“The US administration talking about human rights in Syria exceeds the ugliest forms of lies and hypocrisy as embodied in its policy of supporting terrorism that shed the blood of the Syrians and destroyed their achievements,” the Foreign Ministry official said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the sanctions are “a violation of the international law and human rights, and Iran will continue to enhance economic relations with Syria despite these measures.”

Opposition activist groups in Syria estimate that between 384,000 and about 586,100 people were killed in the nine-year Syrian civil war, as of March 2020.

Millions have been displaced, and the exact scope of Assad’s war crimes, which includes the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians, false imprisonment and torture, are unknown.

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