Hezbollah supports Assad regime in ‘brutal repression’ of Syrians: top U.S. official


Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah is dedicated to support the Assad regime in its violence against the Syrians, a top U.S. official told Al Arabiya.

In an exclusive interview, David Cohen, the United States Department of Treasury’s undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told Al Arabiya that Hezbollah “is dedicated in Syria now to supporting the Assad regime in its brutal repression of the Syrian people.”

The United States on Thursday imposed new sanctions on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and two other figures in the armed group over their support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“The designations today are intended to call attention to what Hezbollah as an organization is doing through the leadership of Nasrallah, Mustapha Badreddine and Talal Hamiyah.”

Cohen said they “expect Lebanese banks to be even more careful” about providing any business for “Hezbollah, Nasrallah, and Talal Hamiyah and Mustapha Badreddine” as Hezbollah maybe abusing the financial institutions to pursue activities around the world.

“We will ask actors outside Lebanon to do the same. Hezbollah operates outside Lebanon and financial institutions around the world should be extraordinarily careful to be certain they are not doing any work on behalf of Hezbollah or any of the Hezbollah leadership,” said Cohen.

He said that the U.S. will continue to draw attention to the Assad regime from outside Syria, adding that the sanctions will bring awareness to Hezbollah’s involvement in providing support for the Syrian regime.

Cohen said the U.S. has previously imposed sanctions on Iran which has provided assistance to Assad’s regime. This has only extended the current Syrian regime which continues to “inflict violence on its own people.”

The new sanctions are set to freeze all their assets and to block any person and financial institution in the U.S from transacting with Hezbollah. According to Cohen, Hezbollah is providing training to the Syrian forces working with Iran’s Qud force.