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Putin Slams New U.S. Sanctions Aimed at 'Suffocating' Syria

The Caesar Act imposing new U.S. sanctions in Syria came into force in mid-June. Felipe Dana / AP / TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday denounced the United States for imposing new sanctions on Syria's regime during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Despite the call from the UN secretary general for easing the pressure of sanctions under pandemic conditions, Washington like Brussels decided to prolong measures against Syria," Putin said during a televised meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on Syria.

"In addition, new sanctions presumably aimed at economically suffocating Syria have been adopted," he said during the video conference with Iran's Hassan Rouhani and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Caesar Act imposing new U.S. sanctions in Syria came into force in mid-June, with the first batch of designations targeting 39 people or entities, including President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma.

The sanctions laid down in the law aim to force Assad to accept UN Security Council Resolution 2254 of 2015 that calls for a ceasefire, elections and political transition in Syria.

Russia and Iran are key allies of Assad and Tehran also criticized the sanctions.

The two countries have met several times with Turkey, which has backed Assad's opposition, to work on resolving Syria's decade-old civil war.

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