The United States on Wednesday added to its blacklist the eldest son of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Hafiz, 18, as part of a new series of sanctions against Damascus, as announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The new US sanctions target 14 additional entities and individuals, and come after a first set of sanctions announced in mid-June with the entry into force of Caesar Act, which aims to dry up the resources of the regime and those of its supporters.

“On our blacklist, there are more than 50 primary supporters of Bashar al Assad and their companies, as well as some military organizations that are killing the Syrian people,” a senior administration official said to the press.

Under these sanctions, Hafiz, whose grandfather took over as Syrian president until his death in 2000, could no longer travel to the United States, where his assets would be frozen.

His mother had previously placed Asma al Assad on the blacklist in June.

The Syrian president, in turn, has been subject to US sanctions since the crisis began in 2011, and quickly turned into a devastating conflict that has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions.

“We have seen an upsurge in its importance within the family,” said the American official, on the authority of Ibn Bashar al Assad.

Caesar Act imposes financial penalties on Syrian officials, businessmen, and every foreigner who deals with Damascus, even Russian and Iranian entities.

It provides for the freezing of reconstruction aid. 

Washington requires to lift the sanctions several measures, including holding the perpetrators of “war crimes” and stop bombing civilians and the release of political detainees and the return of refugees.

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