On Tuesday, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Syria, targeting the country’s central bank and several individuals and entities close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Among those targeted are Assad’s British-born wife, Asma al-Assad, and several of her family members who are based in London. The sanctions target her father, Fawaz Akhras, along with her mother, brother, and uncle.
“The Assad and Akhras families have accumulated their ill-gotten riches at the expense of the Syrian people,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The sanctions were implemented under the Caesar Act, a bill that was passed last year and implemented in June. The act allows the US to sanction any individual or entity, regardless of nationality, that does business with the Syrian government. The act specifically targets the energy and construction sectors of Syria to impede the country’s reconstruction effort.
On top of the crippling sanctions, the US also maintains a small occupation force in Syria’s northeast, where most of the country’s oil fields are located. The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces recently inked an oil deal with a US company to develop and export crude from the region.