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Obama calls Syria a threat, renews ban

US President Barack Obama has renewed the country’s sanctions against Syria, branding it as a source of threat to Washington.

In a letter to the US Congress on Monday, extending the nearly six-year-old embargo against Syria, Obama claimed Damascus was “continuing support for terrorist organizations and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile programs,” AFP reported.

Such alleged activities, he added, “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

The former George W. Bush administration had also accused Syria of “sponsoring terrorism” before burdening it with economic sanctions.

Washington has adopted harsh anti-Syrian rhetoric since Israeli President Simon Peres accused Damascus last month of supplying Russian-made Scud missiles to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

The allegations of the Israeli regime have been fiercely rejected by the governments of Syria and Lebanon as well as the Hezbollah movement.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem have likened the accusations to Washington’s claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which was used as the main pretext to attack and occupy Iraq in 2003.

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that no evidence had been presented — by Israel or the US — to support their claims.

Lebanese officials have, meanwhile, have warned that the Israeli accusation is yet another psychological warfare aimed at launching another war against its territory. The country lost about 1,200 of its citizens to the 2006 Israeli offensives.

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