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U.S. sanctions Syrian arms suppliers

Sept. 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday it imposed sanctions against a series of entities suspected of supporting the Syrian military.

Amnesty International said it found at least 166 civilians were killed as a result of Syrian military action in the parts of the country it visited Aug. 31-Sept. 11.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it was imposing sanctions on Syrian officials, a government army supply bureau and a Belarusian company for supporting the government's efforts to obtain weapons that it could use against the Syrian people.

"Today's actions seek to disrupt the flow of weapons and communications equipment to the Syrian regime and help prevent their use against the Syrian people," said Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen in a statement.

The Treasury Department also extended sanctions to Iranian aircraft companies for their alleged role in supporting the Syrian military.

Amnesty International said unguided bombs and mortars were used by the Syrian military on a regular basis against residential areas. The organization said it didn't observe activity from armed opposition groups at the times of the attacks it documented. This may suggest the Syrian military was punishing citizens for their presumed support for rebel groups.

"If this is indeed the aim of the bombardments, these would constitute direct attacks on civilians/civilian objects," the Amnesty International report states.

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