The sanctions, the third set imposed by
Washington since May, targeted financial support for a leading Syrian
missile research facility, the Scientific Studies and Research Center.
"SSRC controls Syria's missile production facilities and oversees
Syria's facilities to develop unconventional weapons and their delivery
systems," the Treasury Department said.
The sanctions included the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria, with
50 branches, as well as North Korea's Tanchon Commercial Bank. SSRC and
Tanchon first came under U.S. sanctions in 2005.
"The Commercial Bank of Syria has continued to provide financial
services to the SSRC and associated companies following the SSRC's
designation, including the maintenance of bank accounts and financing for
purchases that permit the SSRC and associated companies to advance Syria's
WMD programs," Treasury said.
In 2010, Treasury said, Commercial Bank arranged financing for SSRC to
purchase missile-related equipment. No details were given.
"By exposing Syria's largest commercial bank as an agent for designated
Syrian and North Korean proliferators, and by targeting Syria's largest
mobile phone operator for being controlled by one of the regime's most
corrupt insiders, we are taking aim at the financial infrastructure that is
helping provide support to Assad and his regime's illicit activities,"
Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said.
The administration also designated Syria's largest mobile phone operator
for sanctions. SyriaTel was identified as being owned by Rami Makhlouf, a
cousin of Assad and regarded as a leading financier of the regime.
"Despite attempts to obscure his controlling interest in Syriatel,
Makhlouf has continued to own and run the telecommunications company,"