The US government's Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on Syriatel, the largest mobile phone operator in Syria following allegations of human rights abuses by the Syrian government.
"By targeting Syria's largest mobile phone operator for being controlled by one of the regime's most corrupt insiders, we are taking aim at the financial infrastructure that is helping provide support to Asad and his regime's illicit activities," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.
As a result, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in commercial or financial transactions with Syriatel, and any assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
Syriatel, the largest mobile phone operator in Syria, was designated for sanctions for being owned or controlled by Rami Makhluf, a powerful Syrian businessman and regime insider designated under a previous order in February 2008 for improperly benefitting from and aiding the public corruption of Syrian regime officials.
The US Treasury says that despite attempts to obscure his controlling interest in Syriatel, Makhluf has continued to own and run the telecommunications company.