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Friday, July 1, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. sanctions key Syrian security agency
for human rights abuses

WASHINGTON — The United States has imposed a third set of sanctions on Syria, this time targeting the security forces of President Bashar Assad.


The Treasury Department has sanctioned a major security force for participating in Assad's bloody crackdown on the opposition. The Syrian Political Security Directorate, under the authority of the Interior Ministry, was determined to have violated the human rights of protesters over the last 10 weeks.

"Today's action builds on the administration's efforts to pressure Assad and his regime to end the use of wanton violence and begin transitioning to a system that ensures the universal rights of the Syrian people," Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said on June 29.

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Treasury cited a series of attacks by the security directorate on Syrian civilians. In March, the directorate opened fire on protesters in the southern city of Dera after Friday prayers. During the following month, Syrian officers opened fire on a crowd in Nawa, in which four people were killed and eight injured.

Another Syrian sanctioned was identified as Syrian Air Force Intelligence commander Maj. Gen. Jamil Hassan. Treasury cited other Assad commanders as being involved in the crackdown, including Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Assaf Chawkat, Syrian National Security Bureau Hisham Ikhtiyar and Rustum Ghazali, a senior member of Syrian Military Intelligence.

The Iranian police were also said to have been helping the Assad regime. Treasury referred to Iran's Law Enforcement Forces and its deputy commander, Ahmad-Reza Radan.

"We are exposing further Iran's provision of its military and security forces to support the Syrian government’s ongoing violence and repression of the Syrian people," Cohen said.

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