The US Treasury has announced sanctions targeting four individuals and five entities that have supplied fuel to the Syrian regime.

The United States flag flies atop the US Treasury Department in Washington, November 18, 2008. (File photo)
The United States flag flies atop the US Treasury Department in Washington, November 18, 2008. (File photo) (Reuters)

The US Treasury announced sanctions on Thursday targeting a network of business groups that supplies fuel to the Syrian regime, along with one that handles trade between the regime and Daesh.

The Treasury said four individuals and five companies added to its financial blacklist were vital to helping Bashar al Assad's regime obtain much-needed crude oil and fuels despite sanctions on Syria.

The announcement, which was made by the state department and posted on the Treasury Department’s website, said all US individuals and entities are hereby prohibited from doing business with them.

The individuals sanctioned are Syrian nationals Yasir Abas, Adnan al Ali and Muhammad al Qatirji and Lebanese national Fadi Nasser.

The entities are the Syria-based Qatirji Company, Lebanon-based Nasco Polymers & Chemicals and Abar Petroleum Service SAL and the United Arab Emirates-based International Pipeline Construction and Sonex Investments Ltd.

It named Muhammad al Qatirji and his Qatirji Company as a key broker of fuel trade between the Assad regime and Daesh, despite the two sides fighting each other on the battlefield.

Qatirji provides oil products to the terrorist group but also ships weapons and food for the regime, according to the Treasury.

In a 2016 deal, it said, Qatirji was named the "exclusive agent" for providing suppliers to Daesh areas, according to the Treasury.

Another group placed on the blacklist is UAE-based Hesco Engineering, which the Treasury said facilitates payments that originate in Syria.

The sanctions seek to freeze any property owned by those named in US jurisdictions and to block their access to the global financial system.

"The United States will continue to use all available mechanisms to isolate the Assad regime, a government which has systematically arrested, tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Syrian civilians in response to their legitimate and nonviolent calls for their freedom, rights and political reforms," the state department said in a statement.

The Syrian regime has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition and rebel groups.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than three million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.

On Tuesday, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century."

Source: AA