US House votes to impose sanctions on Syria's foreign backers

Washington D.C. [USA], May 18 (ANI): The House lawmakers on Wednesday passed a legislation to impose sanctions on backers of the Syrian regime, including Iran and Russia.

Approved by a simple voice vote, the measure slaps the new sanctions on people who have financial relationships with the Syrian government or businesses controlled by the Bashar al-Assad regime, reports the Hill.

"Assad's crimes against humanity cannot go unanswered. With these new sanctions, we will continue to tighten the screws on the Syrian regime and its most prominent backers, including Iran and Russia," Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

President Donald Trump would be authorized to waive sanctions on a case-by-case basis if warranted or if peace negotiations are underway, with no more civilian violence.

The bill also directs the president to submit a report to Congress on the potential effectiveness of a no-fly zone over part or all of Syria.

Similar legislation passed in the House last November, but it never came up for a vote in the Senate.

The latest legislation comes as last week the United States acussed Syria of carrying out mass killings of prisoners in its Sednaya military prison.

Earlier President Trump had also authorized a military strike against a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

Before Wednesday's vote, the Treasury Department announced this week it had frozen the assets of several Syrian individuals and companies that provided support to the Syrian government. Americans will also be barred from any transactions with the sanctioned entities. (ANI)