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House Foreign Affairs Chairman Praises Trump Admin. Over New Syria Sanctions

Children receive oxygen in village attacked with poisonous chlorine gas
Children receive oxygen in village attacked with poisonous chlorine gas / AP
• April 24, 2017 4:41 pm

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House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce lauded the Trump administration Monday for blacklisting scores of Syrian government employees in response to President Bashar al-Assad's deadly chemical attack against civilians earlier this month.

The Treasury Department sanctioned 271 employees of Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center, a government agency tasked with creating chemical weapons and ballistic missiles. The sanctions freeze assets and prohibit American companies from engaging in business with those named.

"For years now, I’ve been calling for sanctions to deny Assad the resources he needs to slaughter innocent men, women and children," Royce (R., Calif.) said in a statement.

"These strong and swift actions will make a real difference. And they represent another stark departure from the Obama administration’s dithering on Syria, which only worsened the bloodshed and created a vacuum for ISIS," he continued, referring to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Royce said he would continue to pursue legislation that will provide the administration with "additional leverage" to hold Assad and "his Iranian and Russian backers" accountable.

The Treasury Department enacted sanctions against 18 senior regime officials in January in the wake of a joint investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations finding the Assad regime responsible for three chlorine gas attacks.

The sanctions announced Monday more than doubled the number of Syrians and regime entities barred from the U.S. financial market, according to the New York Times.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions send a "strong message" that the United States will hold the Assad regime accountable for "blatant human rights violations."

"We take Syria’s disregard for innocent human life very seriously, and will relentlessly pursue and shut down the financial networks of all individuals involved with the production of chemical weapons used to commit these atrocities," Mnuchin said in a statement.

Published under: Ed Royce, Syria, Treasury Department