US imposes sanctions on 271 Employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) over Syrian Government’s Chemical Attack

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A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, April 4, 2017. VOA

Washington, Apr 25, 2017: The US slapped sanctions on 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in response to Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, media reports said.

The employees of SSRC, a Syrian government agency, are designated for their role in “developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them,” Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the US Treasury Department on Monday.

“These 271 SSRC employees have expertise in Chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012,” it added.

As a result of the action, any property or interest of the designated persons in the US must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

The sanctions are part of Washington’s response to what it believed the April 4 sarin attack on innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in east Syria by the Syrian government.

Two days after the alleged chemical attack, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase to neutralize its chemical weapon arsenal.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that with Monday’s sanctions, the US is sending a strong message that it would “hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations”.  (IANS)