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U.S. Sanctions Syria's Military, Regime Members For Using Chemical Weapons

A boy, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburb of Saqba in August 2013.

The United States has imposed sanctions on 18 Syrian government officials, Syria's military, and a tech company in response to the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The State Department said on January 12 it sanctioned the Organization for Technological Industries for helping Syria's ballistic-missile program by importing advanced strategic technologies.

The Treasury Department sanctioned 18 senior Syrian government officials linked to the military and Assad's use of chemical weapons, and also five branches of Syria's military.

A United Nations investigation into chemical-weapons attacks in Syria concluded that Assad's forces conducted two chlorine-gas attacks. Those occurred after a much deadlier sarin-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs in 2013 that the United States and Western countries blamed on Assad's forces.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons," Ned Price, spokesman for President Barack Obama's National Security Council, said.

"The Assad regime's barbaric continued attacks demonstrate its willingness to defy basic standards of human decency, its international obligations, and long-standing global norms."

The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with targeted individuals or organizations and freeze their assets in the United States.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters