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US Imposes More Sanctions on Syria

The United States has imposed additional sanctions on Syria, adding telecommunications companies to the ban on trade.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/4/2011, 12:15 AM

The United States has imposed additional sanctions on Syria after a particularly violent weekend.

The Treasury Department announced Monday that it will prohibit American companies from selling telecommunications equipment to the Syrian government, but not to all private firms. The sanctions include sales of telecom equipment or technology, including “satellite or terrestrial network connectivity.”

The order, signed by Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, allows business to be conducted with firms and people who are not linked to the government, and not blacklisted.

President Barack Obama signed the executive order authorizing sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on August 17.  The White House said in a statement at the time that sanctions were being imposed due to the “continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria.”

All property in the United States owned by the Syrian government was frozen under the order, as were all business transactions between U.S. citizens and the Syrian government. The sanctions included the import of petroleum products from Syria.

The United Nations has estimated that at least 2,700 people have died in the government crackdown on protesters across the country, including 100 children.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford was attacked Sunday by Assad loyalists.  Ford was pelted with eggs and tomatoes as he met with a leading opposition leader. The ambassador was subsequently trapped for three hours after the incident as well, when Assad loyalists attempted to storm the building where the meeting had taken place.

Throughout the seven month-long process, state-run Syrian news networks have restricted broadcasts to the government's version of the events.

However, a growing number of Syrian army officers have begun to defect to the opposition forces, according to a report by Reuters that alleged an armed rebellion may be on the way.