Syrian elites face new State Department sanctions under Caesar Act, including Assad's wife

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday a new set of sanctions to be imposed on dozens of Syrian elites among the regime, including President Bashar al-Assad’s wife, under the Caesar Act.

“We anticipate many more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people and the Syrian government agrees to a political solution to the conflict,” Pompeo said in a statement.

President Trump signed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act into law in December 2019, which imposed economic sanctions to pressure Syrian authorities and foreign actors to take accountability for the violence inflicted on the Syrian people.

TWO ISIS 'REGIONAL' LEADERS KILLED DURING RAID IN SYRIA, COALITION SAYS

The act was a result of photographs leaked by a photographer for the Military Police who later became a defector, known as Caesar, who had documented the torture and deaths of thousands of Syrians held in various prisons across the country.

Pompeo said these sanctions are just the beginning of “a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue and support it uses to wage war and commit mass atrocities against the Syrian people”.

The sanctions went into full effect Wednesday, naming the architect of the suffering both Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad.

“I will make special note of the designation for the first time of Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, who with the support of her husband and members of her Akhras family has become one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers,” Pompeo said.

IRAN BUILDING NEW WEAPONS STORAGE AT MILITARY BASE IN EASTERN SYRIA, SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW

The United States remains the largest donor on humanitarian assistance in Syria and has provided more than $10.6 billion in humanitarian aid and $1.6 billion in non-humanitarian aid and stabilization efforts, Pompeo said.

The Syrian civil war that has lasted for nine years has resulted in the death of nearly half a million Syrians and displaced 11 million people, accounting for half of Syria’s pre-war population.

Assad is backed by Russia and Iran, who have aided in his regime’s ability to take back the majority of the country.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The new sanctions will not affect countries or companies that continue to send humanitarian assistance to Syria but rather will target any businesses or foreign actors enriching the Assad regime or profiting from the conflict, the State Department said.

The European Union has established its own set of sanctions and continues to work with the U.S. to enforce economic sanctions.

“It is time for Assad’s needless, brutal war to end,” Pompeo added. “Today, the Assad regime and those who support it have a simple choice: take irreversible steps toward a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UNSCR 2254 [United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254] or face ever new tranches of crippling sanctions."