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US slaps sanctions on Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub over Idlib

According to the designation, all of Ayoub’s property and interests in the US have been blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.

SNS | New Delhi |

The US on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub for his alleged actions of ceasefire obstruction in northern Syria, according to the US State Department.

US State Department accused Ayoub of preventing a ceasefire from taking hold in northern Syria since December 2019 in a statement saying that “this obstruction resulted in almost a million people being displaced”.

According to the designation, all of Ayoub’s property and interests in the US have been blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.

Last week, US Department of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that it has imposed sanctions against TNK Trading International S.A. (TTI), a subsidiary of Russian oil producer Rosneft, as the latest move to pressure Venezuela.

The sanction came amid increasing competition between the US and Russia over the Venezuela issue.

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions against a subsidiary of Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft over its key role in Venezuela, stepping up international pressure to break leftist President Nicolas Maduro’s grip on power.

The situation in Idlib province in northwestern Syria has grown increasingly volatile in recent weeks, with a Syrian offensive triggering a humanitarian crisis as close to a million civilians fled the violence.

dlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Ankara and Moscow reached an agreement in Sochi, Russia, to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.

Russian-backed Syrian forces launched military offensives in December 2019 in its northwestern province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian rebels supported by Ankara.