WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The United States imposed new sanctions on Syria Tuesday, freezing Syrian government assets and banning petroleum product imports from the country.
The Treasury Department also announced three senior members of President Bashar Assad's government -- Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, Presidential Political and Media Adviser Bouthaina Shaaban and Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali -- now are targeted for sanctions.
"Building on our sanctions targeting the entire government of Syria, we are bringing additional pressure to bear today directly on three senior Assad regime officials who are principal defenders of the regime's activities," Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a release.
President Obama signed an executive order that administration officials said reflects the nation's commitment to ensure that assets of the Syrian government subject to U.S. jurisdiction can't be used to advance the campaign of violence and repression President Bashar Assad regime has waged against Syrians, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a release.
"The president took decisive action today [Tuesday] to add force to his call for Bashar Assad to step down by imposing far-reaching sanctions targeting the entire government of Syria and its energy sector," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said. "This order strikes at a crucial revenue stream for Syria's government and, together with our continuing targeted sanctions, will disrupt the Assad regime's ability to finance its campaign of violence against the Syrian people."
The order denies the Syrian government access to the U.S. financial system and prohibits U.S. entities from business dealings with Assad's government, the Treasury Department said.
The order targets Syria's petroleum exports by banning the importation of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products into the United States and by prohibiting U.S. entities from engaging in any dealings related to Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products.
The Treasury Department also added several petroleum-related entities that now are subject to sanctions.
The order also bars exporting or re-exporting services from the United States or by U.S. entities to Syria, augmenting an existing export ban on most U.S. products to Syria.