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US slaps sanctions on Syrian ministers, airline

Updated: 2013-05-17 07:37
( Xinhua)

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Thursday imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Syria, targeting four ministers, one airline and one TV station, just as a new peace conference is being broached to end the 27-month conflict in the Arab nation.

The Department of Treasury blacklisted the ministers of defense, health, industry and justice, the government-owned Syrian Arab Airlines and Al-Dunya Television, a privately owned 24-hour satellite channel.

The airline was accused of transporting weaponry on behalf of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force to the Syrian government in its battle against the opposition forces, which has killed some 80,000 people.

Al-Dunya Television was targeted for providing services to the government, "including the despicable practice of airing forced confessions," the Treasury said in a statement.

The Treasury's move bars American citizens from doing business with the individuals and entities, and freezes all of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Obama administration, in its continued push for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down to make way for a political transition in his country, has so far slapped sanctions on the Syrian government, including its central bank and oil companies, and more than 100 individuals and entities.

Syria dominated Obama's separate talks with prime ministers of Britain and Turkey at the White House on Monday and Thursday, as the United States and Russia have agreed to sponsor another peace conference on Syria in Geneva either this or next month.