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U.S. Imposes Penalties on Syrian Firm and on Hizbullah

The United States imposes penalties against Syria that target state-run oil company Sytrol.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 8/11/2012, 12:15 AM

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Reuters

The United States imposed a new round of penalties against Syria on Friday that targeted state-run oil company Sytrol, Reuters reported.

The U.S. also said it was exposing the Hizbullah terror group for providing support to President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The Lebanese terror group, designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in 1995, has been providing training and extensive logistical support to Syria's government, the U.S. Treasury said.

U.S. officials said they did not know if the sanctions would have any financial effect on Hizbullah or whether other nations would impose economic penalties against the group, suggesting that they were largely symbolic.

“We believe that if they are presented with this information ... that they may want to take additional measures and over the long term that will limit the amount of space that Hizbullah has to operate,” Reuters quoted Daniel Benjamin, the Obama administration's coordinator for counterterrorism, as having said.

“We do see very concrete benefits coming from this designation, whether they will be in the area of financial sanctions or not remains to be seen. But in terms of casting a bright light on what the group is doing, I think that is vitally important,” Benjamin said.

The Obama administration said that Hizbullah has directly trained Syrian government officials within the country and has facilitated the training of Syrian forces by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The announcement came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Turkey for talks as both countries prepare for the fallout of the 17-month-old uprising in Syria, where Assad is trying to crush a rebellion against his rule.

Washington also imposed sanctions on Syria's state-run oil company, Sytrol, for having provided gasoline to Iran.

The State Department said it had sanctioned Sytrol under the Iran Sanctions Act, which has been strengthened in recent years to make it more difficult for companies to trade with the energy sector in Iran.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)