US accuses Hezbollah of aiding Assad's brutal Syria crackdown
Washington, Aug 11 (ANI): The Obama administration has accused Lebanese militant group Hezbollah of assisting the Syrian government's violent campaign to crush pro-democracy protestors, and announced new sanctions against the group and the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The State Department and the US Treasury unveiled fresh measures in response to the escalating violence in Syria that has killed nearly 21,000 people in the past 17 months.
According to the Washington Post, Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said the new action, focused on activities specifically related to Syria, was "not solely focused on the immediate financial impact" but was designed "to expose" Hezbollah activity in that country.
"As the wave of revolt has spread across the Middle East," the paper quoted Cohen, as saying.
"Hezbollah leadership has publicly supported some protests where it suited their needs, and in other cases, such as in Syria, it has actively supported the violent crackdown being carried out by the Syrian dictatorship," he added.
Cohen and Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, declined to provide specifics about long-rumored Hezbollah participation in Assad's military operation, but said it included "extensive" logistical and operational support, as well as training and advice.
"It's safe to say that Hezbollah is playing a critical role in advising the Syrian government and its personnel in how to prosecute a counterinsurgency," they said.
According to the paper, the new measures are unlikely to placate Syrian rebel forces who have asked for U.S. military equipment and aerial protection in their fight against Assad.
Nor are they likely to please critics who say that President Barack Obama is sitting on the sidelines of a humanitarian crisis and a battle that threatens U.S. security interests in the region, it added. (ANI)
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