Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-AssadReuters

The United States on Tuesday slapped fresh sanctions on Syria’s central bank and several people and entities close to President Bashar Al-Assad, Reuters reports.

The latest action, building on sanctions imposed on Syria earlier this year, marked another round in a US campaign to push Assad’s government back into UN-led negotiations to end the country’s nearly decade-long civil war.

“The United States will continue to seek accountability for those prolonging this conflict,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The US Treasury Department said the new sanctions add two individuals, nine business entities and the Central Bank of Syria to Washington’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

The State Department also designated Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of the Syrian president, accusing her of impeding efforts for a political resolution to the war, and several members of her family, Pompeo said.

Asma al-Assad was previously hit with sanctions in June.

Syria erupted into a civil war after Assad in 2011 began a crackdown on protesters calling for an end to his family’s rule.

Since then, the Syrian President has repeatedly rejected ties with the United States and other countries that support Syrian rebels, whom he calls “terrorists”.

Despite Assad’s statement, it was reported in October that a White House official traveled to Damascus earlier this year for secret meetings with the Syrian government. According to the report, the official sought the release of at least two US citizens thought to be held in Syria.