President Trump notified Congress Tuesday that he is extending US sanctions and other national-security actions against the Assad regime due to its use of chemical and biological weapons against Syrian civilians.
“The regime’s brutality and repression of the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, not only endangers the Syrian people themselves, but also generates instability throughout the region,” The White House said in a notice published Tuesday, May 9.
President Trump took these actions in response to the Assad regime’s “supporting of terrorism, maintaining its then-existing occupation of Lebanon, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining United States and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq,” the White House said.
The White House added that the Assad regime’s actions “continue to foster the rise of extremism and sectarianism and pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
The US national-emergency sanctions against the Assad regime have been in place since 2004.
The White House said the US “condemns the Assad regime’s use of brutal violence and human rights abuses and calls on the Assad regime to stop its violence against the Syrian people,” uphold a ceasefire to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and “allow a political transition in Syria that will forge a credible path to a future of greater freedom, democracy, opportunity, and justice.”
The US imposed economic sanctions on 271 employees of the Assad regime’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre three weeks after the April 4 sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun, accusing the agency of focusing on the development of non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)