U.S. sanctions Syrian defense minister over Idlib conflict

The United States slapped sanctions against Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub for his alleged actions of ceasefire obstruction in northern Syria, U.S. State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement accused Ayoub of preventing a ceasefire from taking hold in northern Syria since December 2019, adding that “this obstruction resulted in almost a million people being displaced.”

According to the designation, all of Ayoub’s property and interests in the United States have been blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.

Russian-backed Syrian forces launched military offensives in December 2019 in its northwestern province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian rebels supported by Ankara.