US sanctions entities, including Lebanese company, 'linked to Syria chemical weapons'

US sanctions entities, including Lebanese company, 'linked to Syria chemical weapons'
There have been at least 85 chemical attacks across Syria since 2013.
2 min read
25 July, 2018
The Douma suspected chemical attack killed at least 49 people [Getty]
Sanctions have been imposed against five groups and eight individuals allegedly linked to Syria's chemical weapons programme, the US Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

The targeted groups and people, including Lebanese company Electronic Katrangi Trading, were key to a network that procured electronics for Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), the agency that develops the weapons, it said.

"Syria's horrific use of chemical weapons, including attacks against innocent women and children, remains deeply embedded in our minds," said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism.

"Today, we are continuing our campaign to stop the Assad regime's ruthless attacks by targeting the procurement networks that have supported its chemical weapons programme."

Among the companies the Treasury designated is Electronics Katrangi Trading (EKT), an electronics supplier based in Lebanon with operations in Syria, Egypt, China and France.

Amir Katrangi, Maher Katrangi, Houssam Katrangi, Mohamad Katrangi and Mireille Chahine, are individuals linked to EKT who were among the people cited in the sanctions statement.

There have been 85 chemical attacks across Syria since 2013, the vast majority of which were carried out by the regime, according to Human Rights Watch. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic has confirmed 34 incidents.

After hundreds of people were killed in chemical attacks near Damascus in August 2013, a landmark deal with Russia was struck to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stash, staving off US airstrikes.

Despite the deal, last month the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that its fact-finding mission in Syia found "sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in the south of Ltamenah" in Hama province on 24 March and that chlorine was very likely used a day later at and near Ltamenah Hospital.

And in April a suspected chlorine and sarin attack in the Syrian town of Douma on 7 April left at least 49 people dead. 

The OPCW is due to soon release a fact-finding report into the suspected Douma attack, which triggered a wave of punitive missile strikes against alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria by the United States, Britain and France.