The United States State Department yesterday slapped sanctions on Syria's Defense Minister Imad Ali Abdullah Ayoub for his role in the violence and the disastrous humanitarian crisis in northern Syria.
In a statement, the official body said sanctions have been imposed under Executive Order 13894, as a result of Ayoub's deliberate actions since December 2019 to prevent a ceasefire from taking hold in northern Syria.
"This obstruction resulted in almost a million people being displaced and in dire need of humanitarian aid in the midst of a cold winter in Idlib," the statement said.
SecPompeo: The U.S. is taking action to sanction Assad regime Lt. General Ayoub for the violence perpetuated against the people of northern #Syria. Such violence that impacts civilians, humanitarian workers, and hospitals must not be tolerated. We stand on the side of the Sy…
— State Dept. News (@US_Secy_State) March 17, 2020
Executive Order 13894 targets those responsible for, complicit in, or who have directly or indirectly engaged in, or attempted to engage in, or financed, the obstruction, disruption, or prevention of a ceasefire in northern Syria.
The Russian-backed Syrian regime launched military offensives in December 2019 in its northwestern province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition which is supported by Turkey.
Turkey and Russia agreed on 5 March on the details of the ceasefire in the Idlib region after four days of talks in Ankara, part of the joint effort to halt an escalation of violence.