US blacklists four Syrian ministers, Nusra leader
The United States on Thursday blacklisted the leader of the militant Al-Nusra Front fighting the Syrian regime, as well as four top Syrian government officials, including the defense minister.
Al-Nusra's chief Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani was designated a global terrorist by the US State Department, which said he had been tasked by Al-Qaeda in Iraqwith installing Islamic sharia law across Syria.
Al-Nusra, which has joined the opposition fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was designated a terrorist organization by the US late last year.
"Under Jawlani's leadership, Al-Nusra Front has carried out multiple suicide attacks throughout Syria," the State Department said in a statement, adding "many of these attacks have killed innocent Syrian civilians."
Jawlani "has stated in videos that his ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Syrian regime and the institution of Islamist sharia law throughout the country," it added.
The Treasury meanwhile blacklisted four members of the Syrian regime as well as two entities -- Syrian Arab Airlines, for transporting weapons, and the privately-owned 24-hour Al-Dunya television, for airing forced confessions.
The sanctions targeted Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Health Minister Saad Abdel-Salam al-Nayef, Industry Minister Adnan Abdo Al-Sukhni, and Justice Minister Najm Hamad al-Ahmad.
Under Freij's command "the Syrian military forces have wantonly and capriciously killed Syrian civilians" the Treasury said in a statement, denouncing "summary executions and indiscriminate airstrikes" on civilians.
"We are determined to target activity contributing to the abhorrent humanitarian situation in Syria," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
This included things such as "the Assad government's indiscriminate killing of civilians, shipping weapons to the Syrian government, abusing positions of trust to supply intelligence to the regime, or disseminating the regime's propaganda."
Sources: News Agencies
- Asian Tribune -