US imposes visa sanctions on Syria Tadamon massacre suspect
The US has imposed visa sanctions on a suspected perpetrator of the deadly 2013 Tadamon massacre in Syria, when dozens of civilians were shot dead.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced on Monday that a regime military intelligence officer, Amjad Yousef, allegedly behind the murder of 41 unarmed men, is "ineligible for entry into the United States".
Blinken stated the "murders… were carried out coldly and methodically" after a video of the 2013 massacre was first published by the UK daily The Guardian in 2022.
The footage shows an intelligence officer, allegedly Yousef, forcing blindfolded and bound captives to run across a street before shooting them dead and later burning their bodies.
"Today, we are taking action to promote accountability for this atrocity… as a result of today’s action, Yousef, as well as his wife, Anan Wasouf, and their immediate family members, are ineligible for entry into the United States," the statement says.
"The footage of this massacre, coupled with the ongoing killing and abuse of countless Syrians, serves as a sobering reminder for why countries should not normalize relations with the Assad regime absent enduring progress towards a political resolution," Blinken added.
During an investigation into the massacre, Youssef allegedly confessed to the killings and to raping women.
Youssef was detained by the regime after the footage emerged allegedly due to concerns more information would be revealed about its highest ranks, including the commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
"Amjad Youssef is just one small tool in the regime intelligence and this [arbitary arrest] indicates that the highest ranks are deeply involved in these crimes," the rights group stated.
However, the officer was still working in a military base outside Damascus, Kafr Sousa, according to a report published by The Guardian in October.
This year will make the 12th year anniversary of the Syrian conflict, in which over 500,000 people have died after the Assad regime brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protests in 2011.
"The United States calls on the Assad regime to cease all violations and abuses of human rights, including but not limited to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture," Blinken said.