On July 28, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated eight Syrian prisons run by Assad regime intelligence and five senior security officials in charge of entities that control these detention facilities, for engaging in human rights abuses against political prisoners and other detainees. OFAC also sanctioned Syrian militia group Ahrar al-Sharqiya as well as two of its leaders responsible for the unlawful killing, abduction and torture of numerous civilians, particularly Syrian Kurds. These sanctions were imposed pursuant to Executive Orders 13894 of October 14, 2019 and 13572 of September 28, 2010, which target those responsible for or complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses in Syria.
The sanctions represent OFAC’s response to the Assad regime’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have called for reform, including at least 14,000 individuals are estimated to have been tortured to death in the sanctioned prisons, and 130,000 people who remain missing. OFAC expressed its commitment to the Syrian people, and noted that US sanctions will not hinder civilians’ ability to receive humanitarian aid. These OFAC actions coincide with sanctions imposed by the State Department against Syrian militia group Saraya al-Areen pursuant to EO 13894, because of the group’s participation in combat throughout the Syrian conflict in support of the Assad regime.
As a result of these designations, all US property belonging to these individuals and entities is blocked, and transactions and dealings with them are generally prohibited. In addition, any entity in the US that is owned fifty percent or more by a blocked person is also blocked.