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U.S. Sanctions Companies for Aiding Syrian Regime
July 10, 2014

09 July 2014

A member of the Syrian opposition in Belgium protests against the presidential elections and violence in Syria in Brussels on June 3.
A member of the Syrian opposition in Belgium protests against the presidential elections and violence in Syria in Brussels on June 3.
The U.S. government took action July 9 to increase pressure on the Syrian regime and those providing support that could aid Syria’s military efforts.

The action targets a petroleum products company for supplying materials to the government of Syria and two cover companies linked to Syria’s weapons programs, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a July 9 news release. It generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with the companies and freezes any of the companies’ assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

“The Syrian government’s continued violence against its own people is abhorrent,” said Treasury Department Under Secretary David S. Cohen. “Alongside other administration efforts, we remain committed to applying economic and financial pressure on those providing support to the [Bashar al-]Assad regime.”

The Treasury Department designated United Arab Emirates–based Pangates International Corporation Ltd. for providing material support for, and goods and services to, Syria’s government, including SYTROL, a Syrian state oil company sanctioned by the United States. It also designated Syria-based front companies Expert Partners and Megatrade for acting for or on behalf of the U.S.-sanctioned entity Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing nonconventional weapons and ballistic missiles.

Both SYTROL and SSRC have been sanctioned by the European Union.

From at least 2012 to April 2014, Pangates supplied the government of Syria, including SYTROL, with a large amount of specialty petroleum products that have limited civilian application in Syria and could be used for military purposes.

Expert Partners and Megatrade are two cover companies used by the SSRC. The SSRC used Expert Partners to procure material that could be used in Syria’s chemical and biological warfare programs and materials intended for elements of the SSRC involved in ballistic missile programs. The SSRC was listed by the United States in June 2005 for its ties to Syria’s weapons-of-mass-destruction proliferation activities.

Since the onset of unrest in Syria, the United States has imposed sanctions on nearly 200 individuals and entities, including Syria’s government, its central bank and affiliated oil companies.

Additional information is available in the Treasury Department news release.