Treasury Freezes U.S. Assets of Two Syrian Officials

The Treasury Department froze the assets of two Syrian officials on Tuesday, alleging they had played key roles in support of terrorist organizations.

"Until Syria takes concrete steps to become a responsible member of the international community, the United States will make known rogue actors supporting the country's destabilizing agenda," Pat O'Brien, Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing, said in a statement announcing the action.

The designation means that U.S. financial institutions must freeze any U.S. bank deposits held by the individuals, Maj. Gen. Hisham Ikhtiyar and Brig. Gen. Jama'a Jama'a.

Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said the action was taken under an executive order that President Bush signed in May 2004.

"It's aimed at financially isolating individuals and entities that are directly or significantly contributing to Syria's support for designated terrorist groups," Snow told reporters at the White House.

The Treasury said that Ikhtiyar was designated for contributing to the Syrian government's support for designated terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah.

Treasury said that Ikhtiyar had supported Syria's military and security presence in Lebanon from 2001 to 2005 when he headed the General Intelligence Directorate, the government's central intelligence service.

Treasury said that Jama'a contributed to the Syrian government's military presence in Lebanon while serving as commander of the Syrian Military Intelligence headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Treasury designation freezes any assets the two may have in the United States and prohibits Americans from engaging in transactions with the two men.