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U.S. Sanctions Syrian Businessman

Smoke rises in the city of Latakia. Syrian tanks and navy ships shelled the main Mediterranean port city of Latakia on Sunday, residents and rights groups said, killing 24 people as President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched an offensive by land and sea

U.S. has imposed a number of sanctions on those members of the Syrian leadership deemed to be responsible for the bloodshed.

In response to the Syrian government's continued attacks against its own, unarmed civilians, the United States has imposed a number of sanctions on those members of the Syrian leadership deemed to be responsible for the bloodshed. So far, those sanctioned include the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, his brother Mahir, and several members of their inner circle. Most recently, the U.S. Treasury Department has announced that it will impose sanctions on Syrian businessman and member of the Syrian Parliament, Muhammad Hamsho.

Hamsho is the Chairman of a bevy of businesses within Syria, including the Hamsho Communications Company, and of AYA, the first private internet service provider in Syria. He also controls the Hamsho International Group, a Syrian holding company based in the United Arab Emirates that has approximately 20 subsidiary or affiliated companies. The Hamsho International Group has also been sanctioned.

Muhammad Hamsho has been designated because he is known to provide services in support of Bashar al-Assad and Mahir al-Assad. He has also been known to act for and on behalf of the Assad brothers. Hamsho International Group was designated because it is controlled by Muhammad Hamsho.

"Muhammad Hamsho earned his fortune through his connections to regime insiders, and during the current unrest, he has cast his lot with Bashar al-Assad, Mahir al-Assad and others responsible for the Syrian government’s violence and intimidation against the Syrian people," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "The sanctions we are applying . . . .to [Muhammad] Hamsho and his company are the direct consequence of his actions."

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, "[Muhammad] Hamsho . . . .has provided gifts to gain the favor of senior Syrian officials and has served as a front to mask a senior Syrian official’s illicit and licit financial and business transactions. Members of the Syrian business community believe that Hamsho is a successful businessman because of his relationship to Syrian elites rather than his business acumen."

The United States stands with the people of Syria in their demands for a representative, democratically elected government. That is why, as long as the violence in Syria continues, we will continue to sanction those responsible for the bloodshed.