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U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Syrians, Entities Linked To Government

The U.S. Treasury says it has imposed sanctions against five people and five entities accused of providing support to Syria's government or linked to those previously sanctioned over the Syrian government's reprisals against its citizens.

Muhammad Abbas, a cousin of Rami Makhlouf, a dominant business figure in Syria and himself a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is among those put on the Treasury sanctions black list on May 16.

The Treasury sanctioned Makhlouf in 2008, accusing him of benefiting from and aiding the corruption of Syrian government officials.

The Treasury said Abbas carried out Makhlouf's financial interests. It also sanctioned the Al-Bustan Charity, which it says is owned or controlled by Makhlouf.

Also blacklisted were Ihab and Iyad Makhlouf, Rami Makhlouf's brothers, for helping Rami Makhlouf or the Syrian government evade sanctions.

Ihab Makhlouf is the vice chairman of Syrian mobile phone company Syriatel, which Rami Makhlouf owns.

The Treasury's decision aims to freeze any U.S. assets the people and entities may control and prohibits Americans and U.S. entities from transactions with them.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP