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Trump to sanction Syria’s dictator for human rights abuses

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On Wednesday, the United States announced fresh sanctions on individuals and entities whom it views as “key enablers” of the massive human rights abuses committed by Syria’s authoritarian regime, Reuters and The Hill have reported.

President Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s longtime dictator, has been embroiled in a civil war for the past nine years, during which his government has routinely perpetrated human rights violations. In its effort to cut off the regime’s monetary sources, the U.S. will sanction six people and 13 institutions, including the Central Bank of Syria and parts of the Syrian military among others.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both stood firm in justifying the move.

“The United States will continue to employ all of its tools and authorities to target the finances of anyone who profits from or facilitates the Assad regime’s abuse of the Syrian people,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

“Thus far, Assad’s foreign enablers have only emboldened his regime’s cronies and deepened their involvement in the exploitative financial and military apparatus that underpins the regime’s survival,” Pompeo said in a different statement.

“There is a clear path forward,” he added. “The Syrian people have suffered enough.”

If Assad’s regime wants the sanctions to stop, Pompeo asserted, he must come to the table, accept, and implement the United Nations’ peace plan for finally ending the civil war.

The targeting of officials, commanders and “corrupt business leaders will not cease,” he said.

“Until the Assad regime and its enablers take irreversible steps to end their campaign of violence against the Syrian people and genuinely implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254,” added Pompeo.

The Syrian Civil War, sparked by the Assad government’s bloody 2011 crackdown of Arab Spring protests, quickly evolved into one of the deadliest conflicts to afflict the Middle East in decades. As of March 2020, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights has documented 384,000 deaths from the conflict. The resulting humanitarian crisis forced 6.6 million refugees to flee the war-torn country, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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VIDEO: Russia Moving Missiles Towards Finland Border

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Putin has said in recent years that Finland is considered friendly so long as they do not join NATO. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö confirmed Sunday he has applied for NATO membership.

MetroUK tweeted chilling video and reported the following:

Russia has started moving nuclear-capable missiles towards its border with Finland hours after Moscow vowed not to tolerate Helsinki’s plans to join Nato.

The Kremlin issued a chilling warning that plans for both Finland and Sweden to sign up to the Atlantic alliance were a ‘grave mistake with far reaching consequences’.

Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said: ‘They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it,’ and insisted ‘the general level of military tension will rise’.

The video was reportedly taken on a road leading to Vyborg, around 24 miles from the Finnish border, showing the deployment of mobile Iskander missiles.

“Seven launchers are thought to be en route according to commentary on a dash cam video broadcast by Russian media.”

A person on the video can be heard saying: ‘As soon as the president of Finland said they were joining Nato, a whole division of Iskanders, seven of them is moving towards Vyborg.

‘Looks like a new military unit is about to be formed in Vyborg or the region.’

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