US hits Syria with new sanctions

US hits Syria with new sanctions

By MATTHEW LEE, AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has hit a new group of Syrian people and companies with sanctions over human rights abuses. Among those named are cousins of President Bashar Assad.

The Treasury Department announced Tuesday it has frozen any assets that five Syrian people and five Syrian companies may have in U.S. jurisdictions and has barred Americans from conducting any financial transactions with them. Treasury said in a statement the sanctions were due to Syria's "relentless attacks on civilians."

The announcement comes a day after the administration accused Syria of killing thousands of detainees at a military prison and cremating their remains to hide the scale of the killing.

Among those affected by Tuesday's sanctions are Assad cousins Ihab Makhluf and Iyad Makhluf, their family's al-Bustan Charity, and the Cham Islamic Bank.

Photo:  This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows buses carrying Syrian citizens who were evacuated from Damascus' besieged northeastern Barzeh neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 8, 2017. Syria's state TV and an opposition monitoring group say hundreds of rebels and their families have begun boarding buses to leave a besieged rebel-held neighborhood of the capital, Damascus, under an agreement between the warring sides. (SANA via AP)

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