Assad's British wife and 38 others hit by US sanctions as Trump tries to squeeze regime

Assad's British wife and 38 others hit by US sanctions as Trump tries to squeeze regimeSyrian president Bashar al-Assad’s British wife and dozens of members of his inner circle were on Wednesday hit with US sanctions, as the Trump administration heaped pressure on the beleaguered regime. Asma al-Assad, who was born and grew up in the UK, was designated for the first time by the US government, which described her as “one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers.” The sanctions came into force on Wednesday under the Caesar Act - legislation which has been years in the making and named after a Syrian defector who documented horrific human rights abuses carried out by the regime. The first batch of designations target 39 people or entities with ties to the government, including Assad's sister Bushra, brother and military commander Maher, as well as other members of the extended family, senior military leaders and business executives. Many of them were already subject to US sanctions, but the new penalties also target non-Syrians who do business with them in an attempt to discourage foreign investment in the country. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, said the designations represent “the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue and support it uses to wage war and commit mass atrocities against the Syrian people.”

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