US targets Syrian money service businesses in fresh sanctions

US targets Syrian money service businesses in fresh sanctions
The US will not follow suit in easing up on the Assad regime after their readmittance to the Arab League.
2 min read
Syrian exchange companies have been accused of forming a link between the regime and international finance [Getty images]

The United States imposed punitive measures on two Syrian money service businesses that allegedly help the government maintain access to the international financial system in violation of sanctions on Tuesday, in Washington's first action targeting Syria since its readmittance to the Arab League.

The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement accused the two money service businesses, Al-Fadel Exchange and Al-Adham Exchange Company, of helping President Bashar al-Assad's government and its allies, Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force, an arm of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The sanctions, imposed under the Caesar Act that also levied a tough round of sanctions on Syria in 2020, come after Arab states earlier this month turned the page on years of confrontation with Assad and readmitted Syria to the Arab League, a milestone in his regional rehabilitation even as the West continues to shun him after years of civil war.

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Regional countries - including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others - had for years supported anti-Assad rebels, but Syria's army - backed by Iran, Russia and allied paramilitary groups - regained most of the country.

The icy ties with Assad began to thaw more quickly after devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey in February.

The United States has said it will not normalize ties with Assad and has said Syria did not merit readmission into the Arab League.