The US treasury has placed sanctions on several firms and individuals deemed key players who “facilitate transactions with the murderous [Bashar al-]Assad regime and support ISIS.” Included in the list is Baraa Qaterji, a well-known grains and oil profiteer made rich during the country’s seven-year civil war. Three listed individuals are Syrian and one is Lebanese. The blacklisted firms are headquartered in Lebanon, Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well as Syria.

Although Islamic State (aka ISIS) has ceased to be an oil producer, the move is geared toward undermining the Syrian government’s access to crude and products imports—most of which are of Iranian origin and imported at Banias on the Mediterranean. Sanctions from Europe and the US are likely to continue as Mr Assad works to rebuild Syria’s tattered oil and gas sector (MEES, 18 May). (CONTINUED - 140 WORDS)