On Tuesday, the Department of the Treasury took the measures against General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, and added the 67-year-old senior Syrian Arab Army officer to its so-called Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List.
Ayyoub was appointed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on January 1, 2018.
Last year, the US Treasury slapped sanctions against 16 individuals and entities associated with the incumbent Syrian government.
The restrictions prohibited material support to Damascus, including shipments of crude oil to Syrian government-controlled ports.
On December 17, 2019, US Senate lawmakers, in a bipartisan vote, approved a $738 billion Pentagon budget, which included an authorization for punishing new sanctions on the Syrian government.
The 86-6 vote in the GOP-dominated Senate followed a similar bipartisan vote in the Democratic-controlled House a week earlier.
Known as the so-called Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2019, the bill includes legislation authorizing sanctions within six months on Syria government officials, military and civilian leaders.
International energy companies seeking to redevelop Syria’s oil sector could be a target as well as any company that provides parts for aircraft, including helicopters. Even entities that loan money to the Syrian government could be sanctioned.
Anti-Assad Syrian groups in the United States played a crucial role in pushing the legislation forward.
Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the non-governmental group, The Syrian Emergency Task Force, was reportedly an instrumental figure in the case.