Washington says sanctions on Hafez al Assad, teenage son of regime leader Bashar al Assad, and 14 others are part of efforts to block funds for war-torn country's regime.

New US sanctions also target those dealing with entities from Russia and Iran, regime leader Bashar al Assad's main backers.
New US sanctions also target those dealing with entities from Russia and Iran, regime leader Bashar al Assad's main backers. (Reuters)

The United States has imposed fresh sanctions aimed at depriving the Syrian regime of funds and warned that Washington would blacklist anyone doing business with Bashar al Assad's regime until he supports a negotiated end to the country's nearly decade-long war.

Among the 14 blacklisted on Wednesday were Assad's son, Hafez, a Syrian businessman and nine entities a senior US official accused of helping to fund the Syrian regime's "campaign of terror," as well as the regime army's first division unit, among others.

Hafez al Assad, 18, named after his grandfather, will not be allowed to travel or maintain assets in the United States, the State Department said.

 Also hit by the new sanctions is the Syrian businessman Wassim Anwar al Qattan, who is involved in major construction projects in capital Damascus.

"The steady drumbeat of designations on persons and entities that support the Assad regime will continue until the regime and its associates cease obstructing a peaceful political resolution of the conflict" as called for by the UN Security Council, a senior US official told reporters.

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Assad's 'brutal war' must end

The sanctions, imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act and other measures, come as Assad grapples with a deepening economic crisis after a decade of war.

It marks the second round of sanctions imposed by Washington under the Caesar Act, which aims to deter "bad actors who continue to aid and finance the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people while simply enriching themselves."

"It is time for Assad's needless, brutal war to end.  This, above all, is what our sanctions campaign is meant to bring about," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Already, US and European Union sanctions have frozen the assets of the Syrian regime and hundreds of companies and individuals. 

Washington has banned American exports to and investment in Syria, as well as transactions involving oil and hydrocarbon products.

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More sectors targeted 

The new sanctions cover many more sectors, and they can freeze assets of anyone dealing with Syria, regardless of nationality. 

The measure also targets those dealing with entities from Russia and Iran, Assad's main backers.

The Syrian regime blames Western sanctions for widespread hardship among ordinary residents, where the currency collapse has led to soaring prices and people struggling to afford food and basic supplies.

A crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to civil war, with Moscow backing Assad and Washington supporting the opposition. 

Millions of people have fled Syria and millions are internally displaced. More than 400,000 people have been killed in the war.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies