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U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Three Damascus Officials


Saudi King Abdullah meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Riyadh on March 30.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on three senior Syrian government officials for their roles in fostering violence against the country's citizens during a year of antigovernment protests.

The measure prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions with Syrian Minister of Defense Dawood Rajiha, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army Munir Adanov, or the head of presidential security team, Zuhayr Shalish.

All assets the men hold in the United States also have been frozen. Adanov and Salish were previously sanctioned by the European Union.

In a statement on March 30, the Treasury Department said the move "sends a strong message to the Syrian armed forces and all Syrian officials that the international community is bearing witness to the regime’s brutality."

Clinton Meets Saudi King

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saudi Arabia's king and foreign minister in Riyadh to discuss the conflict in Syria.

The meeting on March 30 came on the eve of a 60-nation meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" in Istanbul, aimed at finding ways to support Syria's opposition.

Washington hopes to help unify the opposition while pushing for humanitarian aid and the further isolation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Saudi Arabia has called for a more aggressive approach, including arming rebels who are fighting the authorities.

Damascus has said it accepts a UN and Arab-sponsored peace plan on Syria. But government troops on March 30 were continuing to shell the opposition stronghold of Homs and attack rebels in the northern Idlib Province.

The UN estimates more than 9,000 people have been killed in a government crackdown on dissent during the past year.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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