US Treasury slaps sanctions on Assad’s uncle, Syrian general


The U.S. Treasury sanctioned two high-ranking Syrians and two government controlled entities on Thursday for their role in the crackdown. One of the people is Mohammad Makhlouf, President Bashar al-Assad’s uncle and father of long-serving financial adviser Rami Makhlouf. The other is 4th armored division General Aus Aslan.

They are among the latest sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and Turkey.

“It has never been more critical to escalate pressure on the Syrian government to immediately cease all violence against its own people and isolate the regime from the international financial system,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We will continue to work closely with our partners in Europe and around the world to hasten a transition to democracy in Syria.”

The Treasury called Makhlouf, 79, someone “whom Assad used to make and move money” and an important Assad economic adviser.

“Makhlouf ensured that assets in nearly all sectors were controlled by businessmen who were willing to act as proxies for the Assad regime in return for profits,” it said.

“In addition, he served as President Assad’s primary economic adviser and final decision maker on capital allocation decisions for Syrian regime investments in private banks in Syria.”

Also listed in the new sanctions were a defense ministry business — the Military Housing Establishment, and the government-controlled Real Estate Bank, the country’s second largest bank.

The Military Housing Establishment “provides funding to the regime”, the Treasury said, while the bank is “responsible for administering the Government of Syria?s borrowings.”