Syrian American Council Applauds Sanctions on Assad
WASHINGTON D.C., June 13, 2019 – The Syrian American Council applauds the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision Tuesday to designate 16 individuals and entities linked to Bashar al-Assad's brutal dictatorship. These new sanctions targeted powerful Syrian businessman Samir Foz, a member of Assad's inner circle who is also a key component in the Assad regime's ongoing sanctions evasion. While such sanctions alone are not sufficient to deter Assad’s crimes, Tuesday's decision is a promising first step toward addressing what President Trump rightly called the “butchery” of civilians in Idlib by the Assad regime.
Foz is part-owner of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, which rakes in millions of dollars a year in hotel stays by tourists, aid officials, and diplomats. However, the hotel is also partly owned by Assad's tourism ministry – meaning that Foz is a conduit for Assad to evade sanctions and fund war crimes. Foz is also behind the notorious “Marota City” project in and around the Syrian capital, Damascus. The project is slated to demolish remnants of former opposition neighborhoods and has been linked by Human Rights Watch to a broader regime plan to cement power by blocking refugee returns.
President Trump tweeted last week regarding the ongoing Assad regime assault on Idlib, “The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!” The designation of Samer Foz is a promising first step toward turning Trump's outrage into action, but it is not enough. The Syrian American Council calls upon the Trump Administration to enact sanctions more closely tied to the ongoing slaughter in Idlib by targeting Russian military officials directly involved in the current assault.
Michelle R. Taylor