The United States has announced “sweeping sanctions” against Syrian officials in response to allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for a suspected gas attack earlier this month.
The Treasury Department ordered assets belonging to 271 employees of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) to be frozen in the United States, it announced on Monday.
It also prohibited any American individual or business from dealing with the Syrians.
The Treasury alleged the SSRC was responsible for producing the chemical weapons that US officials said were used in the April 4 incident and the means to deliver them.
The West accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack in Idlib province, which left 87 dead.
The Syrian government strongly denied responsibility for the attack, and there is no evidence that it was behind the incident.
“The United States is sending a strong message with this action that we will hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations in order to deter the spread of these types of barbaric chemical weapons,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said of the new sanctions.
On April 7, President Donald Trump ordered the US military to carry out a barrage of missile strikes against a Syrian airfield, where US officials claimed the chemical attack originated.
US officials stepped up the rhetoric against the Syrian government following the missile strike, saying the conflict would not be resolved with President Assad in power.
“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said at the time.
The Treasury had already imposed sanctions against 18 Syrian officials in January.
Washington has also threatened Russia and Iran with tougher sanctions over their support for Syria.